Oil slick discovered in English Channel could come ashore on Kent coast tonight

Pollution experts are working with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to deal with an oil slick which has appeared in the English Channel, 12 nautical miles off the Kent coast

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Possible causes are being investigated but at the moment the focus is on tackling the impact of any oil that comes ashore.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We have already mobilised our oil spill response contractor to do all we can to deal with the consequences from this spill.

"Those contractors are working to remove pollutants and minimise any potential pollutants coming to shore.

“We continue to monitor the situation through regular surveillance flights across the area and will update our ongoing response plan in response to that information.

"As well as this, we are working with local partners to ensure a coordinated response.

“Samples of the oil will be collected for testing to see if the source can be identified.”

The Coastguard said it was continuing to update its modelling to assess where any oil might come ashore.

It believes the first part of the slick could come in later today across the east Kent coast in the area around Deal.

The first report of a possible oil slick was made to the Coastguard by a Royal Navy vessel.

Further investigations were carried out to determine what the substance is and how much there is.

A Coastguard spokesperson said that all indications point in to a single slick, and the spill did not appear to be a continuous stream.

Investigations are being carried out to find the source of the slick.

But authorities say there does not appear to be any subsea infrastructure which would point to a pipeline release.