Operational Update in the Gulf Coast
U.S Coast GuardCoast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the largest oil spill response in U.S. history, today outlined recent efforts relating to the Deepwater Horizon Response. The overall response effort consists of 40,122 people; 5,640 vessels; and 116 aircraft on the job.
While work continues underwater to permanently seal this well, massive cleanup efforts continue to expand and significant progress continues to be made.
"The current operational plan is based on the worst case scenario for cleanup at sea and that includes keeping assets in the air and on the water, but we will be here until all of the oil is cleaned up at sea and on shore," said Adm. Zukunft. "This is a dynamic situation where weather really does play the upper hand. The biggest enemy is complacency so we maintain a sense of urgency because there is an awful lot of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. There will be no reduction of effort, commitment or urgency."
Innovative efforts using advanced technology continue to be used to help with this unprecedented cleanup. Some of these technologies include:
- A blimp airship recently arrived in Gulf Shores, Ala. from New Orleans, July 10, 2010. the air ship completed its first full operational mission and is now scheduled to fly twice daily, weather permitting. The blimp airship has been successful in providing useful data that has aided in directing skimmers to oil, detecting broken/damaged boom, and is capable of detecting oil-distressed wildlife.
- MOBILE, Ala. - The U.S. Navy MZ-3A Airship arrives at Brookley Field in Mobile, Ala., following oil spotting duty in the Gulf of Mexico, July 12, 2010. The airship was requested by the U.S. Coast Guard to support Deepwater Horizon Response operations.
Bombardier Dash 8:
- The Icelandic Coast Guard contributed a Bombardier Dash 8 fixed-wing aircraft, which will serve as command and control platform and oil spotting resource. The Bombardier is modified for maritime surveillance/reconnaissance and carries a suite of surveillance sensors to help direct cleanup assets.
- New Orleans - The Icelandic Coast Guard contributed a Bombardier Dash 8 fixed-wing aircraft, which will serve as command and control platform and oil spotting resource as part of the Deepwater Horizon response effort. The Bombardier is modified for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance and carries a suite of surveillance sensors to direct cleanup assets. Image provided by Icelandic Coast Guard.
Tyndall Air Force Base
- All of the 116 air assets used throughout the affected areas in the Deepwater Horizon Response are coordinated in a system out of Tyndall AFB, Ala. where the three Incident Command Posts with aviation assets -- Houma, La., Mobile, Ala., and Miami, Fl. (with airfields in St. Petersburg, Fl. also) -- provide consistent information about the location of oil in order for the spill to be combated and wildlife to be rescued.
- The Louisiana company Edison Chouest is building multiple 6,000-barrel capacity vessels that will be outfitted with a 278-ft skimmer, a macerator, and a centrifuge. The skimmer will extract and filter oil, which will then be sent to the macerator where the oily debris will be chopped and transferred to the centrifuge. The centrifuge, made popular by actor Kevin Costner, will spin the mixture separating oil and water and then store it in the vessel's tanks. One of the vessels is currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
- New Orleans - Chouest Ella G, is one of several vessels being constructed in Port Fourchon, La. The U.S. vessel has a 6,000 barrel capacity and is outfitted with a skimmer, a macerator and a centrifuge. The skimmer extracts and filters oil through a cage to avoid bringing in debris. The oil is then sent to the macerator, which shreds debris collected during oil recovery. The oil is then sent to the centrifuge, made popular by actor Kevin Costner, which spins the mixture so that the oil and water is separated. The oil is then finally sent to the vessel's storage tanks. Photo provided by Deepwater Horizon Response.