As much as 10,000 litres of heavy fuel oil leaked into the Milford Haven Waterway from Valero Refinery yesterday (January 3).

Oil leaked from the refinery yesterday at around midnight and has been spotted on the beaches at Dale and Musselwick Bay.

Drones, lent by the Mid and West Wales Fire Service, are being used to assess the extent of the leak.

Valero has estimated between 7,200 litres (1,600 gallons) and 10,000 litres (2,200 gallons) of heavy fuel leaked into the Waterway.

Mike Ryan, Harbourmaster at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “A multi-agency response is continuing at the Port of Milford Haven following an oil pollution incident at the Valero Pembroke Refinery.

“Valero have today estimated that approximately 7.5-10m³ of heavy fuel oil had leaked overnight on January 2/3 from a pipe connecting the jetty to the refinery but that by first light the leak had been contained.

“As soon as the incident was reported, just after midnight, we instigated our well-rehearsed oil pollution plan in which we (Milford Haven Port Authority) have delegated command for the on-water clean-up of oil.

“Multiple agencies including Natural Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council, Maritime Coastguard Agency and Valero have been working with us since early hours on January 3 to survey, clean-up and put in place measures to protect the environment and wildlife.

“The MCA are supporting the incident response through the loan of equipment to supplement our own assets.

“The MCA are using their contracted surveillance and verification aircraft and the images provided by this equipment have assisted the teams to locate any surface oil, its direction of travel and dispersal.

“The Port’s pollution vessel ‘Sea Sweep’ has patrolled and collected some surface oil; however most of the oil has naturally dispersed and the MCA report from this morning’s flight has confirmed this.

“Mid and West Wales Fire Service has also assisted with the loan of drone equipment.

“Booming is in place at Sandy Haven and teams are deploying booms around the Gann estuary near Dale, today.

“Currently there have been sightings of oil on shore at Dale and Musselwick Bay.

“A clean-up operation is underway and agencies will continue to monitor the surrounding shoreline over the coming days.”

Andrea Winterton, Operations Manager from Natural Resources Wales added: “Our priority continues to be to reduce the impact of the oil on the local environment.

“We have officers positioned in key locations across the Milford Haven Waterway surveying for signs of pollution washing onshore.

“The booms installed yesterday and this morning will remain in place until we are confident that the risk to wildlife and the sensitive saltmarshes has passed.

“A full investigation is underway into how the oil entered the estuary and the findings of this will be shared once concluded.”

Members of the public are asked to be aware, avoid any beached oil if they discover it (particularly if they have dogs) and contact the Natural Resources Wales incident hotline on 03000 653000 if they become aware of any pollution on shore.