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 April 27, 2010
BP scrambles to contain massive oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

 Photos taken by the U.S. Coast Guard show a gigantic oil slick on the water and hundreds of thousands of barrels of fuel and crude are said to have spilled into the water.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has called an emergency meeting for Friday to coordinate the response to what BP has characterized as potentially major oil spill.

11 workers who have been missing for two days still have not been found and chances of anyone being found alive have dwindled. The Coast Guard said it searched 3,000 square miles for any survivors but has found none.

"I spoke to Admiral Mary Landry with the U.S. Coast Guard a few hours ago and she said that while rescue efforts are still continuing to look for the 11 missing workers, it is believed that they might have been working close to the origin of the explosion," said Jindal.

"Admiral Landry said that a second explosion on the rig early this morning caused the release of thousands of gallons of crude oil. While this situation continues to rapidly evolve, seepage of oil into federal waters off of our shores means we must plan for the possible effects here.

BP said it has activated an extensive oil spill response in the Gulf of Mexico following the sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig.

"BP has also initiated a plan for the drilling of a relief well, if required. A nearby drilling rig will be used to drill the well. The rig is available to begin activity immediately," said an announcement in London, England.

BP said it has mobilized a flotilla of vessels and resources that includes:
  • significant mechanical recovery capacity;
  • 32 spill response vessels including a large storage barge;
  • skimming capacity of more than 171,000 barrels per day, with more available if needed;
  • offshore storage capacity of 122,000 barrels and additional 175,000 barrels available and on standby;
  • supplies of more than 100,000 gallons of dispersants and four aircraft ready to spray dispersant to the spill, and the pre-approval of the US Coast Guard to use them;
  • 500,000 feet of boom increasing to 1,000,000 feet of boom by day's end;
  • pre-planned forecasting of 48-hour spill trajectory which indicates spilled oil will remain well offshore during that period;
  • pre-planned staging of resources for protection of environmentally sensitive areas.
"We are determined to do everything in our power to contain this oil spill and resolve the situation as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible," said BP chief executive Tony Hayward.

"We have assembled and are now deploying world-class facilities, resources and expertise, and can call on more if needed. There should be no doubt of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the marine and coastal environments from its effects."

The Coast Guard said of the 126 people on board the rig at the time of the explosion and fire, 115 have been accounted for and 3,000 square miles have been searched for the remaining crew.

There were 700,000 barrels of diesel on the rig at the time of the explosion and no one knows whether they are leaking. Further, reports say crude from the well could still be leaking 18,000-feet below sea level.