Oil Spill Update: June 1st

Oil Spill Update: June 1st
Oil Spill Update: June 1st

Response:

NOAABP is preparing for their next attempt to stop the oil leaking from the riser. The plan is to attach a cap over the riser pipe. The cap will then be connected by a pipe to a drillship at the water surface. BP anticipates beginning this effort later this week, but operational delays could change this timeframe. The operation will be carried out at 5000 ft deep with the use of remotely operated vehicles and equipment. The approach may result in a temporary increase in the release of oil but if successful could capture most of the oil and gas leaking from the riser.NOAA continues to prepare daily trajectories for the nearshore and offshore oil. In the nearshore zone, moderate south to southwest winds are expected to last through the end of the week at 5-10 kts. Oil that was tending to move southwest from the source is anticipated to move toward the shoreline. The threat to shorelines in Breton Sound, Chandeleur Sound, and the northeast side of the Delta will be reduced while more shoreline impacts could occur near Timbalier Bay and the barrier islands off the coast of Alabama. In the offshore zone, satellite imagery analysis continues to show narrow bands of oil southeast of the main slick. Overflights to this region report only non contiguous, colorless sheens. Trajectories for remaining observed oil within this region suggest these scattered sheens will continue to be entrained in a large clockwise eddy (Eddy Franklin) that has pinched off the main Loop Current.

Assessment:

NOAA's Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program is conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment. The focus currently is to assemble existing data on resources and their habitats and collect baseline (pre-spill impact) data. Data on oiled resources and habitats are also being collected.

NOAA by the Numbers in the Gulf Region June 1, 2010

NOAA aircraft deployed (effective May 31):

  • N46RF Twin Otter (DHC-6), Current station: Mobile, Ala., Began flying marine mammal surveys as of 28 Apr. Its mission changed on May 5 to multispectral scanning to study oil density and thickness. Aircraft is down for maintenance.
  • N68RF King Air (BE-350ER), Current Station: New Orleans, La., Mission: Coastal photography and mapping, First Flight: 5 May.
  • N42RF Orion (WP-3D), Current Station: Tampa, Fla., Mission: Loop Current study; First Flight: 8 May, flew May 21. Aircraft flew mission on Friday, May 28 - media onboard.

NOAA and contract research vessels:

  • NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter
    • Working daytime and nighttime acoustic transects and water sampling outside a 5 nm perimeter of well head.
    • NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
      • Alongside New Orleans staging for DWH "Western Sentry" Project.
      • Departure delayed until Wednesday, June 2 to spool on Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth (CTD) wire and install the Moving Vessel Profiler (MVP) on Tuesday.
West of the Mississippi River in LA waters and working east. They are trawling in non-oiled areas to collect baseline samples for the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory. ETA Pascagoula is Friday.
  • R/V Beau Rivage
    • West of the Mississippi River in LA waters and working east. They are trawling in non-oiled areas to collect baseline samples for the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory. ETA Pascagoula is Friday.
  • M/V Jack Fitz, a CSA International (marine science consulting firm) vessel
    • May 31 was conducting ROV operations 2 1/2 km to NNE of discharge point
    • June 1 - Alongside in Port Fouchon, La.
    • Visually observed oil droplets in water column at 3300 ft at location 2km SSW of well head. Mounted collection grid on ROV to sample accumulation of oil droplets.
  • R/V Walton Smith (UNOLS/RSMAS)
    • Deep water sampling and deploying underwater camera.
    • Tracking subsurface oil plume feature they are describing as extending 8-9 nm WSW of the well head at a depth of 1100-1300m.
  • R/V Brooks McCall (Carrying an NCCOS scientist)
    • 3-4 CTDs/day to define the outer edge of plume boundaries.
  • R/V Ocean Veritas (BP Contract vessel)
    • In port following a CTD malfunction

SCAT teams (May 31):

  • Aerial Recon - Surveyed all barriers islands in Timbalier and Terrebonne Bays (E. Timbalier to Racoon).
  • Team 1: Canceled due to thunderstorms
  • Teams 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 were active

Glider operations:

  • Six IOOS community gliders on active missions and transmitting data

Fishery closure update: (effective June 1)

  • NOAA Fisheries Service revised the fishery closure effective 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 1. The closure now encompasses slightly more than 31 percent of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone.

Marine mammals and turtles (effective May 30):

Sea Turtles

  • The total number of sea turtles verified from April 30 to May 31 within the designated spill area is 253. Seven live turtles were captured on May 31 during directed search efforts from a search vessel that included NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission staff and other partners working approximately 40 miles offshore. All the turtles were pelagic stage juveniles (6 Kemp's ridley and one green turtle), alive and very oiled. Their behavior was abnormal, but they were responsive. All were initially cleaned on the support vessel, received initial veterinary care and were transported to Audubon Aquarium outside New Orleans, where they are undergoing further care. Another Kemp's ridley was captured during a skimmer vessel operation approximately 17 miles offshore, oiled and alive. This turtle was transported to shore by the US Coast Guard and Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife and is also now at the Audubon Aquarium undergoing further care. On water surveys for sea turtles will continue this week. The 253 turtles verified in the spill area include 12 turtles collected alive with visible external evidence of oil and one dead stranded turtle with visible external evidence of oil. All others have not had visible evidence of external oil.
  • A total of 228 turtles stranded dead. A total of 15 stranded alive. Three of those subsequently died and one of the live stranded turtles -caught in marine debris -- was disentangled and released. There are 21 turtles in rehabilitation. Turtle strandings during this time period have been higher in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama than in previous years for this same time period. This may be due in part to increased detection and reporting, but this does not fully account for the increase.

Dolphins

  • From April 30 to May 31, there have been 29 dead dolphins verified within the designated spill area. So far, one of the 29 dolphins had evidence of external oil. Because it was found on an oiled beach, we are unable at this time to determine whether the animal was covered in oil prior to its death or after its death. The other 28 dolphins have had no visible evidence of external oil. Since April 30, the stranding rate for dolphins in Louisiana has been higher than the historic numbers for the same time period in previous years. This may be due to increased detection and reporting and the lingering effects of the earlier observed spike in strandings.
*Strandings are defined as dead or debilitated animals that wash ashore

NOAA Facilities in the Gulf:

  • NOAA Fisheries Regional Office in St. Petersburg, F.
  • National Marine Sanctuaries: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Galveston, TX; Florida Keys National Marine Sancturary, Key West, FL
  • National Estuarine Research Reserves: Mission-Aransas Reserve, TX; Grand Bay, MS.; Weeks Bay, AL.; Rookery Bay, FL
  • Field offices of the Science Center in Galveston, Texas and Pascagoula, MS
  • Seafood Laboratory in Pascagoula
  • Science Center in Panama City, FL
  • Texas - 13 Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and the southern regional office in Fort Worth
  • Louisiana - 4 WFOs
  • Mississippi - 4 WFOs
  • Alabama - 4 WFOs
  • Florida (West Coast to Key West) - 4 WFOs (additional 3 WFOs in East coast FL and National Hurricane Center in Miami)
  • NMFS & NOS offices in Layfette, La.
  • NMFS regional office in Baton Rouge, La.
  • National Coastal Data Development Center, National Data Buoy Center - Stennis, MS

Miscellaneous:

  • Two NOAA communications personnel are detailed to the federal Joint Information Center in Robert, La., one communications staffer at the JIC in Mobile, Ala.

Important Contacts

    • For NOAA media inquiries, please contact Ben Sherman, John Ewald or Rachel Wilhelm or phone 301.713.3066.
    • To offer suggestions to clean, contain, recover or stop the flow of oil visit Deepwater Horizon Response Suggestions. This website also provides procedures and forms for Alternative Response Tool Evaluation System (ARTES) proposals.
    • For response-related inquiries, please phone the Joint Information Center (JIC) at 985.902.5231 or 985.902.5240.
    • To report oil on land, or for general community information, please phone 866.448.5816.
    • To report oiled or injured wildlife, please phone 866.557.1401.
To learn about volunteer opportunities in all areas and what training is required, please phone 866.448.5816.
  • To discuss spill related damage claims, please phone 800.440.0858.
  • BP is asking fishermen for their assistance in cleaning up the oil spill. BP is calling this the Vessel of Opportunities Program and through it, BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. To learn more about the Vessel of Opportunity Program, fishermen should phone 281.366.5511.
 

More Information about this Incident

  • Incident News View the most up-to-date information on OR&R's IncidentNews site.
  • EPA: Federal Response to BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This site tracks EPA's ongoing work in the area and help answer questions about the incident.
  • Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center This site is providing information regarding the April 20 incident in the US Gulf of Mexico involving a Transocean drilling Rig Deep Water Horizon. The Horizon was engaged in drilling activity on behalf of BP at Mississippi Canyon Block 252, about 52 miles southeast of Venice, La. Leaves NOAA for a non-government site
  • Deepwater Horizon Response on Facebook This site is providing information regarding the April 20 incident in the US Gulf of Mexico involving a Transocean drilling Rig Deepwater Horizon. Leaves NOAA for a non-government site
  • Deepwater Horizon Response on Twitter This site is providing information regarding the April 20 incident in the US Gulf of Mexico involving a Transocean drilling Rig Deepwater Horizon. Leaves NOAA for a non-government site
  • National Weather Service Deepwater Horizon Page NWS page for daily and hourly forecasts, winds and currents.
  • Deepwater Horizon Trajectory Map Archive All the trajectory maps produced for the Deepwater Horizon incident response.

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