Click here for the latest updates on the developing situation in the Gulf (UPDATED 9/2/2011)
-Over the past two weeks, I have been closely following reports of renewed leaking in the Macondo oil field, the site of last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster (Map). First, New Orleans Lawyer Stuart Smith reported that nearly 40 ships were hired by BP to conduct a boom-laying mission over the August 13th weekend. Next, nonprofit organizations On Wings of Care and Gulf Restoration Network conducted a joint flyover of the spill site, bringing back photographic evidence of fresh oil near the site of the Macondo well. This in turn prompted reporters from the Mobile Press-Register to hire a boat out to the site, where they found massive “globules” of oil rising to the surface, creating a growing sheen on the water (you can read about that here).
Today, pilot Bonny Schumaker of On Wings of Care once again took to the air over the Gulf of Mexico, finding evidence of what appears to be a massive leak near the site of last year’s oil drilling disaster.
According to Schumaker, the oil “stretched for miles” with one continuous sheen stretching for nearly 10 miles. This contradicts BPs official story, which is that “none of this is true.”
It’s interesting then that Schumaker reports radio communication with a ship known as the Sarah Bordelon earlier this afternoon, who claimed they were gathering oil samples for BP (Marinetraffic.com confirms the location of the Sarah Bordelon within the vicinity of the Macondo).
“How can BP say it’s not there when they have a ship out there sampling it?” asked Shumaker.
Schumaker also reports calling the slick in to the National Response Center, though the U.S. Coast Guard has declined to comment for the time being.
The kind of surface sheen photographed in today’s flyover has not been seen since the height of last year’s oil spill, when nearly 210 million gallons of crude gushed into the Gulf of Mexico before the well was capped. Communities along the Gulf coast have still not fully recovered from the extensive damage to their coastal environment, which has also caused major losses in the fishing and tourism industries.
So just what is going on near BP’s damaged well?
According to BP spokesman Justin Saia, “neither BP nor the Coast Guard has seen any scientific evidence that oil is leaking from the Macondo well, which was permanently sealed almost a year ago.”
Perhaps Schumaker’s new photographic and video evidence will prompt a “scientific” inquiry into the source of the quickly growing oil slick located very near the former Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico.