friday update on the spill
and in other oil spill news, the slick has reached the mouth of the river, requiring all vessels to get contaminated prior to entry into the Mississippi – typically a 12 hour process that will back up ships in the gulf that are destined for the port
Gulf Oil Slick Moves Near Southwest Pass, Port Official Says
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By Laurel Brubaker Calkins
May 5 (Bloomberg) — Oil leaking from BP Plc’s damaged Gulf of Mexico well has drifted within 1.5 miles of the buoy marking the entrance to Southwest Pass, the main approach to the Port of New Orleans, a port official said.
“I just got a call from the port commissioner, and he said the oil is a mile and a half away from the main entrance,” Wayne Mumphrey, secretary treasurer of the Port of New Orleans said in an interview in New Orleans. “Once it passes the buoy, we have to start decontaminating every ship coming into the port.”
Mumphrey said two floating decontamination stations have been set up near the buoy to scrub oil from the hulls of ships entering the Mississippi.
It will take 10 to 12 hours to decontaminate each ship, which will dramatically slow incoming port traffic and that may cause ships to begin backing up into the Gulf, he said.
Oil has been gushing at the rate of more than 5,000 barrels day from BP’s damaged well, roughly 40 miles off the southeastern tip of Louisiana, since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank last month.
Mumphrey said a port study commissioned in the wake of a tanker spill that closed the Port of New Orleans for several days last year showed the economic impact of a total port closure on U.S. Midwestern communities from the mouth of the Mississippi to Minnesota is roughly $250 million a day.
“All the grain from the Midwest ships out through the Port of New Orleans,” Mumphrey said. “It can’t get out any other way.”