Worsening Gulf oil spill overwhelming Coast Guard
By Shashank Bengali and Lauren French
WASHINGTON — The massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill is growing despite BP’s effort to siphon some of the spewing crude from its ruptured deepwater well, the U.S. Coast Guard official leading the cleanup warned Tuesday.
BP doubled its estimate of the amount of crude being captured by a mile-long recovery tube to 2,000 barrels per day — but what percentage of the spill that is remains uncertain. BP has said it thinks that 5,000 barrels of crude a day are leaking from the well, but some scientists have said the figure could be 10 times greater or more, and a video made public Tuesday after the tube was placed inside the broken pipe shows clouds of crude oil still billowing into the sea.
Another video provided the first public view of a second leak much nearer the runaway well’s failed blowout preventer spewing oil, too. A BP robot took that video on Saturday and Sunday.
The Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Thad Allen, said that despite the siphoning, the spilled oil is spreading and now stretches from western Louisiana to Florida’s Key West. The extent of the spill was straining even the substantial resources deployed for one of the worst ecological disasters in recent history, he said.