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BP hires locals boats to assist in Gulf clean up

By Sue Richards last modified May 04, 2010 08:22 PM

Published: 2010-05-04 20:22:49
Topics: Environment
Countries: USA

Tips for boaters in the Gulf, on how to deal with the oil spill can be found at

As reported at

British Petroleum has hired 500 civilian boats to help in the clean up operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The boats will be instrumental in stopping the oil's advance to shore.

The slick is getting close to the vulnerable marshlands of the American south, threatening the health and wellbeing of marine life and the livelihood of many industries reliant on the waterways. A mass death of more than 20 sea turtles on the shores of Mississippi is currently being investigated.

In a statement, BP said it has sourced “vessels of opportunity” for around US$1500 per day across the Gulf coast, where the spreading oil slick is threatening Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The US President, Barack Obama has called it a “massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster” and it has been declared worse than the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound Alaska, in 1989.

The boats are being split into groups of 25, and their work will include “a variety of clean-up activities, including transporting supplies, performing wildlife rescue, and towing and deploying booms,” which are the inflatable barriers laid out in the ocean to stop the oil, BP said Monday.

One hundred of the vessels are in Venice, Louisiana, a community at the mouth of the Mississippi River that has served as a staging ground for response crews. Much of the waters around the fishing town have been closed in the aftermath of the spill, and the chance to work cleanup comes as a relief to many.

On his visit to Louisiana, the President vowed to do “whatever it takes, for as long as it takes” to minimize the effects of the spill, but emphasized that “BP will be paying the bill”.

US Fish and Wildlife Service officials are planning to fly over the Breton National Wildlife Refuge to check on the status of hundreds of nesting pelicans there. It is feared recent storms may have washed oil over the inflatable barriers and closer to the refuge.

Heavy rain and strong winds continued along the Gulf Coast Monday, hampering efforts to contain thel leak but offering hope that the conditions might break up the slicks. Skimming boats, used to collect oil from the surface of the ocean, can't be deployed in strong winds, as the waves make the skimming ineffective.

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