BCP COUNCIL are to erect warning signs at Southbourne Beach after residents spotted oil in the shallows and on the beach.

After an investigation, council workers identified an “a small clump of oily substance” in the water off the coast of Southbourne Beach.

Bournemouth resident and open water swimmer Franziska Conrad noticed the substance floating in the water whilst swimming in the bay between Fisherman’s walk and the Bistro on the beach on Thursday morning.

She said: “A significant amount of oil or diesel was floating on the water, sticking to skin, hair and clothes and later washing up on the beach.

“In 20 year living in Bournemouth, and as a regular swimmer all year round, I have never experienced anything like this and would argue that this can be attributed to the cruise ships in the bay.

“This is unacceptable and it’s surely in the councils and tourist boards interest to prevent this from happening again. This coastline is too precious to let these companies get away with dumping fuel and lubricants into our bay.”

BCP Council have not confirmed that the oil has come from any of the cruise ships anchored in the bay.

Council officers are evaluating how they can remove the object but, after patrols along the seafront, are confident this is an isolated issue.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “The seafront team has investigated this issue and identified a small clump of oily substance in the water.

“We are putting up some localised signage to alert people in its immediate area and will continue to monitor the substance carefully. Should the substance make it to the beach, we will dispose of it appropriately. We will also be exploring options for removing it while it’s still in the water.

“We have checked along the seafront and are confident there are no other current issues of this nature.”