Mystery surrounds unidentified substance which coloured the sea in Sunderland dark brown

A liquid which spilled into the North Sea and was spotted off the shore at Roker and along the North East coast showed no trace of pollution, the Environment Agency has said.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 8:45 am
The liquid turned the sea a reddish brown colour in Sunderland. Picture: Peter Davison.

An investigation was launched over the bank holiday weekend following multiple reports of discolouration in the sea in Sunderland, North Tyneside and towards Hartlepool.

A statement from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, released over the weekend, said: “At 8.30am on Sunday 25th August, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) received reports of a brown/black substance floating on the sea surface between Cullercoats and Hartlepool.

“The MCA Counter Pollution Team requested an aerial survey of the area, which was overflown this afternoon by the MCA counter pollution surveillance aircraft.

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The liquid spotted in the sea at Roker by Peter Davison.

“The aerial observations indicate that the substance is not oil pollution.”

The MCA worked alongside the relevant authorities and the Environment Agency to carry out an investigation, with the latter tasked with undertaking sampling.

The Environment Agency confirmed on Tuesday, August 27 that they did not find any trace of pollution in the area at Roker when they arrived.

A spokeswoman added: “Our officers have visited the site of the pollution in the Roker area but were unable to find any trace of pollution.

A red flag on the beach at Roker, Sunderland. Picture: Peter Davison.

“The Maritime and Coast Agency lead on marine pollution, we have worked closely with them and are not expecting any significant impact on the local beaches.”

Contact the coastguard or the Marine Pollution incidents line on 07770 977 825 if you see any oil spillage or source of pollution in the sea.