USCG, Shell Continue Oil Spill Clean Up
The US Coast Guard managed to remove more than 51,000 gallons of oily-water mixture after some 88,200 gallons of oil spilled from a Shell subsea well-head flow line in the Gulf of Mexico on May 12.
A total of five on-water recovery vessels have been deployed to conduct skimming operations at the site of the incident, which occurred some 90 miles south of Timbalier Island, Louisiana.
“On water recovery vessels are searching for oil that can be safely recovered via skimming,” the USCG said, adding that, besides the five vessels, the Coast Guard and Shell have sent more than 130 personnel to assist in the response efforts.
Shell has shut-in production at the Glider field, from where the crude oil was discharged.
According to the company, which contracted air resources to provide aerial assessment of the affected area, the trajectory is in a westerly direction with no expected shoreline impact at this time.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is leading an investigation to determine the cause of the oil spill.
There have been no reported impacts to wildlife, the USCG said.
However, according to Greenpeace, the oil spill “is the largest since BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the effects of which are still resonating throughout the region.”
“Currently estimated at 88,200 gallons, the Shell spill is just shy of qualifying as a “major” spill under the Coast Guard’s classification system,” Greenpeace added.
“The industry routinely grossly under reports the amount of oil leaked,” said Jonathan Henderson, the founder of Vanishing Earth, an environmental watchdog group.
“They have an economic incentive to do that, because they’re fined per barrel of oil released under the Clean Water Act. I don’t see how you can not call this a major oil spill. On Friday they estimated the size of sheen at two by 13 miles, and today it looked like it had spread from that,” Henderson said.
Image Courtesy: Derick E. Hingle / Greenpeace