OIL SPILL LATEST: All eyes on the tide as sea remains off limits

Cleaners on the beach at Bispham earlier this week
Cleaners on the beach at Bispham earlier this week
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The sea along the Fylde coast remains off limits today, while the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry service also remains suspended.

All the oil leaked from an off-shore storage tanker and washed up on the beach at Blackpool has been removed, Blackpool Council said yesterday, but the clean up operation is continuing in Wyre.

Visitors at Fleetwood RNLI's Lifeboat Day earlier today (Pic: Fleetwood RNLI)

Visitors at Fleetwood RNLI's Lifeboat Day earlier today (Pic: Fleetwood RNLI)

It is focusing heavily on Knott End and Pilling sands, with most of the beach at Cleveleys and Fleetwood now clear.

The Environment Agency's advice to stay out of the sea at Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Bispham, Blackpool north, Blackpool central and Blackpool south, is still in place, Wyre Council said.

The slipway at Knott End is also closed to boats and jet skis, while the shellfish beds at Knott Spit and Sea Centre South in Knott End are also shut.

Visitors to Fleetwood RNLI's Lifeboat Day today were reminded the ferry service is still off. It is hoped it will be back up and running early next week however.

Specialists working on the oil spill are keeping an eye on the tide to see if it brings in any new oil. If it doesn't, the bathing water may be opened again at some point this weekend or early next week.

Some 11 tonnes of oil, sand, and stone have been removed by experts this week, ahead of the school summer holiday, which started yesterday for most.

The clean up operation began on Sunday, when oil washed up at Bispham in what was initially described as a 'small' problem by the Coastguard service.

It escalated the following day when oil began washing up as far south as the mirror ball in Blackpool, and as far north as the River Wyre.

Samples sent to a lab in Edinburgh later showed Eni UK's offshore storage installation, in Liverpool Bay, as the source.

The oil giant said between two and 20 tonnes of oil leaked there last Monday, and said it informed authorities 'immediately'.

Since then, it has been heavily involved with the clear up, and made the subject of an investigation by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

A specialist group has been set up to monitor any impact on marine and wildlife, though there have been no reports of any as yet. One expert said the effect could be devastating.

Dog walkers have been warned to keep their pets away from an oil, or to avoid the beach altogether. Anglers can fish as usual, though their haul may be 'tainted', albeit safe.

Anybody who has come into contact with the thick tar-like substance should not suffer any lasting effects, but should seek medical advice should they start to feel unwell.