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BP Spill Update: Lives in Peril

June 4, 2010

After some hiccups during the day, BP engineers were able to cut the riser, even though not as clean cut as they wanted. The day started with robots using diamond saw to cut the faulty riser, but the saw got stuck, so the riser was shear cut. Around 10 PM, BP was able to put the cap on the top of the well, finally some good news [CNN]!! As I am writing this post, robots are trying to maneuver the cap and trying to align it properly. Since the cut was not smooth, the cap will not be aligned completely. The next step after this will be to put a dome and suck the oil. This time, the dome will be heated to avoid any ice formation which led to failure of one of the first attempts. Still, this is just initial success and no one can guarantee if capping will work or if some other issue pops up. Two relief wells are being bored which is considered to be ready by August and is being considered as the final solution. But even the relief wells dont guarantee success. In past, spill in Mexico and recent spill in Australia, first attempts by drilling relief well were not successful and needed further attempts. So looking at the worst case scenario, some experts say, the spill might continue till Christmas. But if this capping effort works, things can change, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.  The progress of the capping effort can be seen live in the video embedded at the end of this post.

Some new pictures of animals totally submerged in thick oil have been taken by photographer Charlie Riedel. These pictures tell the story of those who can’t speak for themselves. The picture above shows  Brown pelican soaked in oil. Seabirds including brow pelicans dive into the oil slick as the slick makes the water look calmer. Once they are coated in oil the cannot regulate their temperature causing hyperthermia. Other species which are affected are:

Plankton: tiny immobile organisms at the base of the food chain, can be killed by chemically dispersed oil.

Sea Turtles: All four species of sea turtles in the gulf are threatened or endangered. Some have already washed up ashore, and with numbers already low, it would be harder to rebuild the population.

Dolphins, which often follow boats to play, have been following response crews, getting near the slicks.

Shrimp and other shellfish are more vulnerable to oil and chemical dispersants because they are stationary, while some adult fin fish populations may be mobile.

Bluefin Tuna: Fish larvae are most at risk. Bluefin tuna , now spawning near the spill, are of particular concern. The Gulf of Mexico is one of only two nurseries in the world for bluefin tuna.

Sperm whales, which spend most of their time diving for prey, may come up in the slick as they reach the surface to breathe. [Source : NY Times]

Video streaming: PBS/NPR

Photo credit: Boston Big Picture | photographer Charlie Riedel

Filed under: Environment,News

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1 Comment Leave a Comment

  • 1. Prasoon Diwakar » T&hellip  |  June 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    […] of protecting our Oceans and it’s ecosystem can not be emphasised more in the wake of BP oil spill disaster. But it’s not like we have not been polluting our Oceans before this spill. We keep […]

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