The federal agency responsible for ensuring that an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that inspections be done at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.
Since January 2005, the federal Minerals Management Service conducted at least 16 fewer inspections aboard the Deepwater Horizon than it should have under the policy, a dramatic fall from the frequency of prior years, according to the agency’s records.
FILE – This image from a video released by BP PLC shows oil and gas spewing from a yellowish, broken pipe 5,000 feet below the surface. The video released Wednesday May 12, 2010 gives a not-yet-seen glimpse of the leaking well a mile underwater. The stream occasionally can be seen becoming lighter as natural gas mixes into the gusher. BP was confident Saturday May 15, 2010 its latest experiment using a mile-long pipe and stopper would capture much of the oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, even as the company disclosed yet another setback in the environmental disaster. (AP
NEW ORLEANS — BP said Monday it was siphoning more than one-fifth of the oil that has been spewing into the Gulf for almost a month, as worries escalated that the ooze may reach a major ocean current that could carry it through the Florida Keys and up the East Coast.
BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles said Monday on NBC’s “Today” that a mile-long tube was funneling a little more than 1,000 barrels — 42,000 gallons — of crude a day from a blown well into a tanker ship. The company and the U.S. Coast Guard have estimated about 5,000 barrels — 210,000 gallons — have been spewing out each day. Engineers finally got the contraption working on Sunday after weeks of failed solutions — however, millions of gallons of oil are already in the Gulf of Mexico.
A researcher told The Associated Press that computer models show the oil may have already seeped into a powerful water stream known as the loop current, which could propel it into the Atlantic Ocean. A boat is being sent later this week to collect samples and learn more.
“This can’t be passed off as ‘it’s not going to be a problem,'” said William Hogarth, dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. “This is a very sensitive area. We are concerned with what happens in the Florida Keys.”