Everyone is wondering whether BP and the US government are doing enough to protect and clean up the Gulf of Mexico from the horrendous spill originating at the Deepwater Horizon oilrig. After 10 hours of flying over the disaster area, we can tell you that they are not.
There was a brief break in the heavy rains and winds from Hurricane Alex over New Orleans today, and during that pause Sea Shepherd flew out to see for themselves how bad the disaster zone has become and what assets have been deployed by BP to fix the gushing oil spill.
Around the Chandeleur islands oil booms have been deployed, but the booms do not enclose the islands, instead they seem to be almost randomly scattered, as they are all over the Gulf. But worse, they are not successfully holding back even the surface oil from reaching the islands -- and oil at the surface is barely one percent of the oil contaminating the Gulf waters. The oil washes over, under, and around the booms as if they did not even exist. We see oil washing up on the beaches of the Chandeleur wildlife area, we see it washing up on the beaches of Louisiana, and we see it everywhere we look. We see hundreds of birds flying across and into the oil slicks trying to find food. In six hours of flying we saw only one small school of feeding fish. Across hundreds of miles of sea, it is eerily devoid of wildlife.
Then the weather begins to close in tight again and we hasten through a narrowing channel of light back to land at a different airport, because the one we departed from is lost under a large dark thunder cloud.
An hour later there is a break in the weather again, we're re-fuelled, and this time we head directly for Ground Zero