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sydneyst
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 Posted: Fri May 7th, 2010 08:47 am

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Oil from Gulf Spill Creeps Ashore in Louisiana

 

AP – The containment vessel is lowered into the Gulf of Mexico at the site of the Deepwater Horizon rig collapse, …

By Matthew Bigg Matthew Bigg – Thu May 6, 6:31 pm ET VENICE, Louisiana (Reuters)

– Oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico came ashore on a chain of islands off the Louisiana coast on Thursday as BP Plc engineers prepared to start lowering a 98-ton metal chamber over the ruptured seabed well miles off the coast.
A sheen of oil washed ashore on much of Chandeleur Islands, barrier islands that are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, a spokeswoman for the U.S. response team said.

"That's the only shoreline oiling that we have been able to find," Jacqui Michel, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said at a news briefing. "It is pretty amazing that we've had the oil in the water for this long a period of time and so little shoreline oiling."

The Breton refuge is an important breeding and nesting area for many endangered and threatened bird species.

Oiled birds, including gannets and brown pelicans, Louisiana's state bird, have been found on the islands, said Jeff Dauzat of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Obama administration officials and U.S. lawmakers kept up the pressure on BP to make good on its promises to pick up the tab for cleaning up what could end up being the largest oil spill in United States history.

"Very major mistakes" were made by companies involved in the deadly offshore rig explosion that led to the spill and no new offshore drilling permits will be issued until a review is complete, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Thursday.

A barge carrying the massive white containment box arrived at the spill site where a BP-owned well blew out two weeks ago 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, causing the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Once the four-story-tall metal dome is lowered to the seabed in an operation that could take two days, it is supposed to capture leaking oil and channel it to a drilling ship on the surface. BP said the dome, the best short-term option for containing the leak, could begin operations by Monday.

"We'll be lowering this containment vessel within the next 24 hours, weather permitting," Robert Dudley, a BP executive vice president, said after giving a speech in Boston.

A Coast Guard official said the oil threatening the Chandeleurs was "largely just sheen," or the leading edge of the slick.

Heavy oil remains further off the coast for now, close to the site of the leak. But the Mississippi Delta, Breton Sound, and Chandeleur Sound continue to be threatened by shoreline contacts over the next few days, officials said.

By late Saturday night into Sunday morning winds in the Gulf region could pick up to 15 to 20 knots, said Tim Destri, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in New Orleans. That may make efforts to battle the slick more difficult.
Oil workers, volunteers and the military have battled desperately to shut off the gushing leak and stop the huge spreading oil slick from reaching major ports, tourist beaches, wildlife refuges and fishing grounds on the Gulf Coast.

CALM WEATHER WINDOW
While the calm weather continues, crews are taking advantage of a window of opportunity to fight the leak. About 270 boats deployed protective booms on Thursday to block the slick and dispersants to break up the thick oil.

The chemical dispersants worried environmentalists. "These dispersants contain proprietary chemicals that have unknown effects," said Larry Schweiger, president the National Wildlife Federation, who called on BP to disclose what chemicals are in their dispersants.

Scientists monitored the impact on marine and coastal wildlife of the oil slick, estimated to be at least 130 miles by 70 miles in size.

"It has already hit some of the fishing areas further out," said Leonard Ball, a resident of Biloxi, Mississippi, adding he feared damage to oyster bays and the fishing community.

"There's already a lot of devastation as far as the fishermen go," he said.
Coast Guard and port officials said there had been no impact on ship traffic, and preparations were in place to clean vessels quickly en route to port to keep traffic moving.

BP has capped one of three leaks in the ruptured well, but oil is still flowing at an unchanged 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) a day.
 
The company is drilling a relief well that could take two or three months to complete, making the containment dome the centerpiece of the short-term fight against the slick.


Last edited on Fri May 7th, 2010 08:51 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 07:49 pm

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Seagrant Describes Oil Spill BMP's
No Spill Is the Same and Different Measures Employed


http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/oilspill/cleanup.html

No two oil spills are the same because of the variation in oil types, locations, and weather conditions involved. However, broadly speaking, there are four main methods of response. (1) Leave the oil alone so that it breaks down by natural means. If there is no possibility of the oil polluting coastal regions or marine industries, the best method is to leave it to disperse by natural means. A combination of wind, sun, current, and wave action will rapidly disperse and evaporate most oils. Light oils will disperse more quickly than heavy oils.

(2) Contain the spill with booms and collect it from the water surface using skimmer equipment. Spilt oil floats on water and initially forms a slick that is a few millimeters thick. There are various types of booms that can be used either to surround and isolate a slick, or to block the passage of a slick to vulnerable areas such as the intake of a desalination plant or fish-farm pens or other sensitive locations. Boom types vary from inflatable neoprene tubes to solid, but buoyant material. Most rise up about a meter above the water line. Some are designed to sit flush on tidal flats while others are applicable to deeper water and have skirts which hang down about a meter below the waterline. Skimmers float across the top of the slick contained within the boom and suck or scoop the oil into storage tanks on nearby vessels or on the shore. However, booms and skimmers are less effective when deployed in high winds and high seas.

(3) Use dispersants to break up the oil and speed its natural biodegradation. Dispersants act by reducing the surface tension that stops oil and water from mixing. Small droplets of oil are then formed, which helps promote rapid dilution of the oil by water movements. The formation of droplets also increases the oil surface area, thus increasing the exposure to natural evaporation and bacterial action. Dispersants are most effective when used within an hour or two of the initial spill. However, they are not appropriate for all oils and all locations. Successful dispersion of oil through the water column can affect marine organisms like deep-water corals and sea grass. It can also cause oil to be temporarily accumulated by subtidal seafood. Decisions on whether or not to use dispersants to combat an oil spill must be made in each individual case. The decision will take into account the time since the spill, the weather conditions, the particular environment involved, and the type of oil that has been spilt.

(4) Introduce biological agents to the spill to hasten biodegradation. Most of the components of oil washed up along a shoreline can be broken down by bacteria and other microorganisms into harmless substances such as fatty acids and carbon dioxide. This action is called biodegradation. The natural process can be speeded up by the addition of fertilizing nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, which stimulate growth of the microorganisms concerned. However the effectiveness of this technique depends on factors such as whether the ground treated has sand or pebbles and whether the fertilizer is water soluble or applied in pellet or liquid form.

Source: http://www.appea.com.au/edusite/html/pt/oceans.html

Last edited on Thu May 6th, 2010 07:50 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 06:32 pm

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U.S. Mineral Agency Saw Potential Impact as "Non Significant"

Ruled  EIS Unnecessary Based On Previous Studies
BP Pressured Agencies for Exemption


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/04/AR2010050404118.html

The U.S. Mineral Management Service, under the US Department of Interior exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling from a {formal environmental impact statement that would have required detailed analysis or spill potential and control measures.} 


Edited from story by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer

{...After 
three reviews the agencies concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.

The decision by the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 -- and BP's lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions -- show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.

...While the MMS assessed the environmental impact of drilling in the central and western Gulf of Mexico on three occasions in 2007 -- including a specific evaluation of BP's Lease 206 at Deepwater Horizon -- in each case it played down the prospect of a major blowout.

In one assessment, the agency estimated that "a large oil spill" from a platform would not exceed a total of 1,500 barrels and that a "deepwater spill," occurring "offshore of the inner Continental shelf," would not reach the coast. In another assessment, it defined the most likely large spill as totaling 4,600 barrels and forecast that it would largely dissipate within 10 days and would be unlikely to make landfall.

"They never did an analysis that took into account what turns out to be the very real possibility of a serious spill," said Holly Doremus, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has reviewed the documents.

The MMS mandates that companies drilling in some areas identify under NEPA what could reduce a project's environmental impact. But Interior Department spokesman Matt Lee-Ashley said the service grants between 250 and 400 waivers a year for Gulf of Mexico projects. He added that Interior has now established the "first ever" board to examine safety procedures for offshore drilling. It will report back within 30 days on BP's oil spill and will conduct "a broader review of safety issues," Lee-Ashley said.

BP's exploration plan for Lease 206, which calls the prospect of an oil spill "unlikely," stated that "no mitigation measures other than those required by regulation and BP policy will be employed to avoid, diminish or eliminate potential impacts on environmental resources."

While the plan included a 13-page environmental impact analysis, it minimized the prospect of any serious damage associated with a spill, saying there would be only "sub-lethal" effects on fish and marine mammals, and "birds could become oiled. However it is unlikely that an accidental oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."

Kierán Suckling, executive director of the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, said the federal waiver "put BP entirely in control" of the way it conducted its drilling.

Agency a 'rubber stamp'

"The agency's oversight role has devolved to little more than rubber-stamping British Petroleum's self-serving drilling plans," Suckling said.

BP has lobbied the White House Council on Environmental Quality -- which provides NEPA guidance for all federal agencies-- to provide categorical exemptions more often. In an April 9 letter, BP America's senior federal affairs director, Margaret D. Laney, wrote to the council that such exemptions should be used in situations where environmental damage is likely to be "minimal or non-existent." An expansion in these waivers would help "avoid unnecessary paperwork and time delays," she added.


 
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How an oil burn works See the step-by-step procedure involved in an oil burn.
Potential ways to stop the leak Explore the three plans to stop the oil flow.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/04/AR2010050404118.html]

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Last edited on Thu May 6th, 2010 07:16 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 06:22 pm

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Despite plan, not a single fire boom on hand on Gulf Coast at time of oil spill


By Ben Raines
May 03, 2010, 12:09PM
http://blog.al.com/live/2010/05/fire_boom_oil_spill_raines.html
(Elastec/American Marine Photo)

An image provided by Carmi, Ill.-based Elastec/American Marine shows an oil burn being conducted in one of its patented Hydro-Fire Boom systems. The inflatable, fire-resistant, water-cooled boom was developed to contain surface oil and burn it offshore, helping prevent destruction of critical environmentally sensitive shoreline habitats, company officials said.


If U.S. officials had followed up on a 1994 response plan for a major Gulf oil spill, it is possible that the spill could have been kept under control and far from land.

The problem: The federal government did not have a single fire boom on hand.



(AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Sawyer)This April 28, 2010 image made from video released by the Deepwater Horizon Response Unified Command, shows an in situ burn in the Gulf of Mexico, in response to the oil spill after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. The "In-Situ Burn" plan produced by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms.

But in order to conduct a successful test burn eight days after the Deepwater Horizon well began releasing massive amounts of oil into the Gulf, officials had to purchase one from a company in Illinois.

When federal officials called, Elastec/American Marine, shipped the only boom it had in stock, Jeff Bohleber, chief financial officer for Elastec, said today.

At federal officials' behest, the company began calling customers in other countries and asking if the U.S. government could borrow their fire booms for a few days, he said.

A single fire boom being towed by two boats can burn up to 1,800 barrels of oil an hour, Bohleber said. That translates to 75,000 gallons an hour, raising the possibility that the spill could have been contained at the accident scene 100 miles from shore.

Video shows federal officials knew quickly of potential for massive oil flow in Gulf spill


"They said this was the tool of last resort. No, this is absolutely the asset of first use. Get in there and start burning oil before the spill gets out of hand," Bohleber said. "If they had six or seven of these systems in place when this happened and got out there and started burning, it would have significantly lessened the amount of oil that got loose."

In the days after the rig sank, U.S Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said the government had all the assets it needed. She did not discuss why officials waited more than a week to conduct a test burn. (Watch video footage of the test burn.)

At the time, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oil spill response coordinator Ron Gouguet -- who helped craft the 1994 plan -- told the Press-Register that officials had pre-approval for burning. "The whole reason the plan was created was so we could pull the trigger right away."

Gouguet speculated that burning could have captured 95 percent of the oil as it spilled from the well.

Bohleber said that his company was bringing several fire booms from South America, and he believed the National Response Center discovered that it had one in storage.

Each boom costs a few hundred thousand dollars, Bohleber said, declining to give a specific price.

Made of flame-retardant fabric, each boom has two pumps that push water through its 500-foot length. Two boats tow the U-shaped boom through an oil slick, gathering up about 75,000 gallons of oil at a time. That oil is dragged away from the larger spill, ignited and burns within an hour, he said.

The boom can be used as long as waves are below 3 feet, Bohleber said.

"Because of the complexity of the system and the obvious longer production time to build them, the emphasis is on obtaining and gathering the systems," he said.

Bohleber said his company has conducted numerous tests with the Coast Guard since 1993, and it is now training crews on the use of the boom so workers will be ready when they arrive.

"We're arranging for six to be shipped in. We keep running into delays. Hopefully, they will be here by Wednesday to be available for use on Thursday. Bear in mind, two days ago, we thought they would be here today."

Last edited on Thu May 6th, 2010 06:26 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 08:04 am

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Magnitude of Threat to World Oceans May Surpass Imagination


http://pesn.com/2010/05/02/9501643_Mother_of_all_gushers_could_kill_Earths_oceans/

Response to Assertion about Magnitude of the Disaster
(which included the following assertions by an alleged engineer)

1. wellhead pressure at source  is enormous
2. Closing/capping the hole could take years
3. the size of field is so huge that the world oceans are endangered


by Paul Noel

I really do think that the situation is getting further and further out of hand. 

By yesterday morning, the nature of the crude had changed, indicating that the spill was collapsing the rock structures. How much I cannot say. If it is collapsing the rock structures, the least that can be said is that the rock is fragmenting and blowing up the tube with the oil. With that going on you have a high pressure abrasive sand blaster working on the kinks in the pipe eroding it causing the very real risk of increasing the leaks. 

More than that is the very real risk of causing the casing to become unstable and literally blowing it up the well bringing the hole to totally open condition… Another possible scenario is a sea floor collapse. If that happens Katie bar the door. 


Possible Fix

I do not see any good possibilities from humans further fracturing the rock particularly at higher levels. That is the cap rock that is holding the deposit together. 

I do see a possible use of explosives for favorable outcome. If a properly sized charge were applied in a shaped fashion around the drill pipe at some distance from it say 5 feet or so it is entirely possible that an explosive charge could pinch the pipe off similar to a hydraulic clamp. The resulting situation would vastly reduce the spill. …The end result would be to contain the spill and dramatically control any leaks because drill mud could then be entered into the pipe fitted to the exterior. In the end, the pipe could be controlled that way. The size of a charge to do this would be a few pounds not megatons. 

A nuclear detonation carries the real risk of giving us the full doomsday scenario on this well. I just don't like doing that. There is no coming back from the brink when you do that one. If it works, which I see as unlikely, great. If it doesn't work, there is now a maybe a hole 1/4 mile across leaking oil. That looks worse than any possible outcomes otherwise. 


Oil Deposit Capacity

The BP people are not talking, but this well is into a deposit that easily could top 500,000 barrels production per day for 10 or 15 years. Letting that all go in one blast seems more than foolish.

The deposit is one I have known about since 1988. The deposit is very big. The central pressure in the deposit is 165 to 170 thousand PSI. It contains so much hydrocarbon that you simply cannot imagine it. In published reports, BP estimated a blow out could reach near 200,000 Barrels per day (165,000) They may have estimated a flow rate on a 5 foot pipe. The deposit is well able to surpass this…. 

(Regarding the rig that may be sitting on top the wellhead.)

“I guess the size here sort of bends the imagination. This rig has a deck area of about 3 to 4 acres…

Controls That Should Have Been In Place

By the way, I am not against drilling it, I am just against doing so without proper controls.
    The rig that was drilling was not a US Flagged rig. That means US Inspectors were not allowed on board the rig to inspect it. As a matter of National Security under the GATT the USA has a right to demand US Only in various technology. The USA should never allow a foreign flag vessel to drill for oil in the US Economic Zone (200 mile limit).

    I think US Federal Inspectors should have to be resident on and inspecting rigs like this 24/7. ]I think that the drilling should be required to do some smaller holes that deliberately miss the main deposit that test the structure before main drilling operations happen. Careful procedures should be in place to set up wells before they hit the main deposit. The well casing should have to be inserted well before the drill hits the deposit and it should have to be cemented in at least 2 weeks prior to finishing the hole down to the oil or gas. This is to give the cement time to set.

    The casing should have ridging to make this cement have a tight wedged grip on the miles of rock around it. This is required because the lift pressure on a pipe in this case could easily reach 20 million pounds of lift. This is an insane amount of up pressure. Even at 70,000 psi it would lift about 140 million pounds. (almost 64,000 long tons!) 
Paul Noel, 52, works as Software Engineer (as Contractor) for the US Army at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He has a vast experience base including education across a wide area of technical skills and sciences. He supplies technical expertise in all areas required for new products development associated with the US Army office he works in. He supplies extensive expertise in understanding the Oil and Gas industry as well.

also see: http://www.sydneysthumb.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=70&forum_id=1

Last edited on Tue May 4th, 2010 08:09 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 02:03 am

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Dear Fergie, 

The Center for Biological Diversity has been a leading critic of the Senate climate bill and Obama's energy policy, because both encourage more dangerous offshore oil drilling. In the twisted world of Rush Limbaugh, this commitment to protecting our environment and endangered species is proof that we blew up the oil rig that is right now ravaging the Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill.

In Rush's own blustering words:

"But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they're sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here." i
Rush's toxic, illogical rant does beg the question, however: Who is responsible for the catastrophe?

Haliburton? Possibly. British Petroleum? Undoubtedly.

But to head off future oil-spill catastrophes, we have to hold the Obama administration accountable.

The Obama administration approved the BP drilling plan that just caused what is likely to be the greatest industrial accident in American history.ii

The administration also approved new offshore oil drilling by Shell Oil in the Arctic to commence this summer, against the objections of government wildlife scientists.iii

And Obama announced an horrific decision just weeks ago to expand offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and along the Atlantic coast.

Be furious at BP. Demand it clean the Gulf up and pay for all costs.

But to prevent this from happening off the coast of Alaska, Delaware, Virginia, or Florida, hold the Obama administration accountable for promoting the biggest expansion of offshore oil drilling in 30 years. This is our best opportunity to stop more disastrous drilling.

Please send a letter today calling on President Obama to immediately withdraw his decision to allow Shell Oil to drill this summer in the Arctic and to reverse his decision to expand offshore oil drilling nationwide. We can't afford to have what's happening in the Gulf happen ever again.



Click here to find out more and take action.

Last edited on Tue May 4th, 2010 02:03 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 04:16 pm

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Catastrophic Gulf Platform Blowout--42,000 Gallons Per Day Pour into Gulf

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2010/04/23/eleven-believed-dead-and-oil-sheen-spreading-in-gulf/?cxntfid=blogs_jay_bookman_blog
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/us/22rig.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/us/26rig.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/us/27rig.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fnational%2Findex.jsonp

From the above sources:
 
On April 22rd   Leslie Kaufman of the New York Times quoted a Coast Guard Official as saying that the oil spill from the Gulf oil platform operated by British Petroleum and Transocean was not coming from a leak in the wellhead but riser linking the wellhead to the platform.  Hopes were dashed on April 26 as the New York Times confirmed that  over 42,000 gallons per day were in fact leaking from the wellhead and that the sheen now covered 600 square miles.  Within hours that was changed to 1800 square miles.

The leaks were discovered Saturday April 24, in the riser, the 5,000-foot-long pipe that extended from the wellhead to the drilling platform. The riser detached from the platform after it exploded and sank, and it is now snaking up from the wellhead and back down to the sea floor. It is leaking in two places on the sea floor. The bends in the riser, like kinks in a garden hose, have apparently prevented a gush of oil. When the platform was on the ocean’s surface and the riser was still attached last week, oil and gas were shooting up through the riser, creating plumes of flame.
Mitigation Focus on Sealing Leak with Blowout Preventer

On Sunday morning, officials began using remote-controlled vehicles to try to activate the blowout preventer, a 450-ton valve sitting at the wellhead, 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The blowout preventer can sometimes seal off a well, and is designed to do just that to prevent sudden pressure releases that possibly led to the first explosion on the oil rig on Tuesday night.

But Doug Suttles, the chief operating officer for exploration and production at BP — which was leasing the drilling platform and is responsible for the cleanup under federal law — cautioned that the operation was “highly complex.”
“It may not be successful,” Mr. Suttles said.

Another effort described by officials Sunday — drilling relief wells nearby — would take two to three months to stop the flow.

If the blowout preventer does not seal off the well, officials intend to place a large dome directly over the leaks to catch the oil and route it up to the surface, where it could be collected.

This has been done before, but only in shallow waters, Mr. Suttles said.
“It’s never been deployed in 5,000 feet of water,” he said. “But we have the world’s best experts working on that right now.”

Rough seas halted the cleanup efforts on Saturday and most of Sunday. But as the weather cleared Sunday afternoon, aircraft resumed dumping dispersant, or chemicals that break down the oil. By evening, 15 vessels were headed to the area to resume skimming the oil off the surface of the ocean.

The Coast Guard said in a statement on Monday that an aircrew from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service spotted five small whales in the vicinity of the oil spill on Sunday. Sea life that congregates at the surface and has no mobility of its own — like plankton and fish eggs — is the most vulnerable to the slick. A large-scale destruction of eggs could affect fish populations in the future.

Attached Image (viewed 878 times):

gulfblowoutsmall.jpg

Last edited on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 04:22 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 06:45 pm

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Australia Expands Barrier Reef Protection After Ship Grounding

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601130&sid=acwRK48DTp30


April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Australia said it is expanding protection along the entire 3,000-kilometer (1,800-mile) Great Barrier Reef after a Chinese coal carrier ran aground this month, damaging a section of the World Heritage-listed area. Ships of 50 meters or more in length and oil tankers, liquefied gas and chemical carriers “irrespective of length” will be required to report their positions in the southern section of the reef, Transport Minister

Anthony Albanese said in an e-mail. Currently, only vessels using the northern area must announce their positions.

The “sensitive marine ecosystem” is “one of our most precious environmental assets,” Albanese said of the Barrier Reef that is home to 1,500 species of fish and 400 varieties of coral, according to the United Nations.

More than 6,000 ships pass through the marine park off the coast of Australia’s Queensland state each year. The Shen Neng 1 slammed into the Douglas Shoal in the southern part of the reef on April 3, leaving a 3-kilometer-long scar and a trail of pulverized coral and spilling 4 metric tons of fuel oil.

Custodial powers over the reef are granted to Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, by the International Maritime Organization and changes to shipping must be approved by the UN agency. Foreign ships carry 99 percent of Australia’s international trade and 30 percent of domestic coastal trade, according to the Maritime Union of Australia.

The IMO approved the mandatory ship reporting system for the northern part of the marine park in 1997. The planned extension will cover a 600-kilometer stretch of the coast from Mackay to Bundaberg.

Long Overdue
“We would certainly support” the government’s application to the IMO, Chief Executive Officer of Shipping Australia Ltd.  said in a phone interview. “It is long overdue to extend it south.”

Russell represents an industry that carries more than A$200 billion ($184 billion) worth of cargo in and out of Australia each year.

The “sensible” plan to expand monitoring to the southern part of the reef without imposing other conditions such as mandatory use of marine pilots will reduce uncertainty for the industry, he said.

Data from the tracking system will show whether vessels are straying or not reporting and will demonstrate whether pilots should be compulsory, Russell said. The pilots, who use local knowledge to guide ships through more difficult routes, are available now on a voluntary basis in international waters.

Australian Prime Minister who is from Queensland, had called for a review of shipping routes, vessels and the wider use of pilots after the grounding of the Chinese vessel.

Last edited on Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 06:48 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 06:38 pm

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Great Barrier Reef Ship Crash Was Not Reported for Hour and a Half

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/15/australia-investigates-reef-crash-chinese-ship



Australia is investigating how a Chinese coal ship crashed into the Great Barrier Reef. Photograph: AP


A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the Shen Neng 1 hit the reef and came to a shuddering stop just after 5pm on 3 April but the captain did not report it until 6.40pm.

The preliminary transport report says the crew decided to take a short cut but failed to correct course as planned. By the time they realised they were in a dangerous area it was too late to turn and they ran into Douglas Shoal. The bureau is to investigate whether fatigue played a role and will examine the work and rest policies of the ship's owners, Shenzen Energy Transport. The chief officer was said to have slept for only two and a half hours in the previous day and a half.


Last edited on Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 06:41 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Apr 18th, 2010 06:03 am

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Richard Branson Aims to Rock the Boat for Green Shipping



http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2010/03/11/richard-branson-aims-rock-boat-green-shipping
By Marc Gunther
Published March 11, 2010
 


http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2010/03/11/richard-branson-aims-rock-boat-green-shipping';[/url]


Look around you -- the furniture in your office or house, the electronics, the clothes you are wearing, mostly likely some of your dinner -- chances are these things moved by boat. About 85 percent of worldwide cargo travels by ship, and so it’s no surprise that shipping is a major contributor to climate change.

According to Richard Branson’s new NGO, which is called the Carbon War Room, the global shipping fleet is the equivalent on the sixth most polluting country in the world:
Annual CO2e emissions currently exceed one million tons and are projected to grow to 18 percent of all manmade CO2e emissions by 2050. Yet existing technology presents an opportunity for up to 75 percent gains in efficiency, with required investments repaid in just a few years.


Fixing shipping will take bold ideas -- see the ship at left, which is equipped with a kite from a company called SkySails -- and it will take simple ones, like slowing ships down a little, adopting the equivalent of a 55 mph limit on the open seas. (See this New York Times story, which is literally about a slow boat to China.) And it will require bringing shipping companies, customers, regulators and others to work together to attack the problem.

Opportunities like these interest the Carbon War Room, which says its focus is to harness the power of business to bring about market-driven solutions to climate change.

“We believe that climate change is the greatest challenge facing humankind,” says Jigar Shah, the CEO of the Carbon War Room. “And we need a war room-like effort to combat it.”

I spoke recently with Jigar at the NGO’s new offices in downtown Washington. We’d met a couple of years ago, when he was running SunEdison, a solar industry startup, backed by Goldman Sachs, that was among the first to sell solar energy as a service (buy electricity, not PV panels), a business model that appealed to big customers including Wal-Mart. Jigar, who is 35, left SunEdison at the end of 2008 and became the top exec of Carbon War Room last June.

Branson, who runs Virgin Group (airlines, music, telecom, green energy etc.), started Carbon War Room with Craig Cogut, the founder of private-equity firm Pegasus Capital, and Boudewijn Poelmann, the co-founder a chairman of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, a private lottery that raises money for good causes. (The Dutch lottery gave $1.3 million last year to the Rocky Mountain Institute.)

They say:
Our approach is to identify the barriers that are preventing market-based scale up of climate change solutions and thereby perpetuating the status quo. In addition to technology and policy gaps, these barriers include principal-agent problems, information gaps, and lack of common standards or metrics.
Read more: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2010/03/11/richard-branson-aims-rock-boat-green-shipping#ixzz0lQRjC7Ha

 

Last edited on Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 06:37 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Apr 15th, 2010 11:20 am

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Weather Ends Underwater Inspection of Shen Neng 1

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/7061282/weather-ends-underwater-inspection-of-shen-neng-1/



ABC News © Enlarge photo
Authorities will continue to monitor beaches on a Barrier Reef island where a small amount of oil from the Shen Neng 1 has washed ashore.

About six bags of oil-tainted sand has been collected on North West Island about a fortnight after the Chinese coal carrier ran aground on the nearby Douglas Shoal.
The ship was towed to safe anchorage off Great Keppel Island.

However, Mike Lutze from Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) says weather conditions are too difficult for divers to check the damaged hull.

"The weather has come away from the south-east - there is an east-south-easterly ground swell rolling in there at the moment, 25 to 30 knots," he said.
"As they swung the ship she started to roll and that meant it was too dangerous for the divers to go down.

"So now all diving operations have ceased until such time as the weather improves."
Photographs were also released Wednesday morning showing the extent of the damage as the Shen Neng 1 battered against the remote coral reef, east of Rockhampton.

The photos, released by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), show a diver swimming above a track which has been gouged in the reef at Douglas Shoal.

Nesting ground
Queensland Sustainability Minister Kate Jones says the coral cay where oil has washed ashore is a well known nesting ground for seabirds and turtles.

"Staff are continuing to work around the clock to minimise the damage caused by the Shen Neng 1," she said.

Professor Mike Kingsford from James Cook University says the oil spill could put wildlife at risk on North West Island.

Professor Kingsford says there may be a minor threat to turtles on North West Island but the risk to half a million nesting birds is greater.

"They are actually drinking and feeding from those local waters," he said.
"Once the oil gets on their feathers that can be highly detrimental and either make them very sick or sometimes result in death.

"Turtles, I would imagine that where the animals actually come ashore to lay their eggs, that the risk to them would relatively minimal as they stayed under the slick and paddled away from it."

(A related story reports the arrest of the captain and 1st Officer by Austrialian Police)

Last edited on Thu Apr 15th, 2010 11:30 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Apr 15th, 2010 11:16 am

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Video Shows Continuing Damage Investigation of Ship and Reef

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/7058397/police-charge-two-shen-neng-1-crew/

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 Posted: Tue Apr 13th, 2010 04:40 pm

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Chief Marine Scientist Says Damage Was Severe

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/wires.php?id=3864349_australia-coal-carrier-sydney-great-barrier-reef-scientist-says-ship-that-ran-aground-on-reef-caused-severe-damage

 

The bulk carrier Shen Neng 1, aground on the Great Barrier Reef 70 kilometers east of Great Keppel Island, is seen during operations to refloat the ship after salvage crews pumped heavy fuel oil off the stricken vessel. April 12, 2010. (CBS) 

 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/12/world/main6388451.shtml

Daily News, Tuesday, April 13, 2010


SYDNEY (AP) - The chief scientist for Australia's Great Barrier Reef says a coal carrier that ran aground and leaked about 3 tons of oil on the reef completely pulverized parts of a shoal and caused damage so severe it could take marine life 20 years to recover.

David Wachenfeld, who is coordinating the authority's assessment of the ship's impact, said Tuesday the initial assessments by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority found the 755-foot (230-meter) Shen Neng 1 left a scar 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) long and up to 820 feet (250 meters) wide along the world's largest coral reef.

The Shen Neng 1 slammed into a shoal on April 3, and coral shredded part of its hull, causing a leak of about 3 tons of oil.

Last edited on Tue Apr 13th, 2010 04:54 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue Apr 13th, 2010 04:28 pm

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Coal Ship Refloated, Break-up Averted As
Investigation and Damage Assessment Begin











see latest video

http://video.au.msn
.com/watch/video/coal-ship-re-floated-off-great-barrier-reef/x2fhsoa


other information from Sydney's Thumb:

http://www.sydneysthumb.com/forums/edit_post.php?id=618

Last edited on Thu Apr 15th, 2010 09:55 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Fri Apr 9th, 2010 05:53 pm

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Great Barrier Reef at Risk as Coal-Ship Traffic May Jump 67%

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-08/great-barrier-reef-at-risk-as-coal-ship-traffic-may-jump-67-.html

Bloomberg

April 08, 2010, 11:18 PM EDT
By James Paton
April 9 (Bloomberg) -- The corals, whales and giant clams of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are in the path of a “coal highway” to China that may see shipments jump 67 percent by 2016, increasing the threat of an ecological disaster after a coal carrier ran aground last week.


Trade at Gladstone port in Queensland may rise to about 140 million tons, mostly coal, in six years from 84 million tons in the year ending in June, Gladstone Ports Corp. Chief Executive Officer Leo Zussino said in an interview. The port was the loading point for the Shen Neng 1, which hit a sand bank on April 3 at full speed carrying 68,000 metric tons of coal and 975 tons of fuel oil.

“It’s only a matter of time before a serious oil spill occurs unless we have a better system for regulating the traffic,” said Peter Harrison, a professor at Southern Cross University in New South Wales who has studied the impact of oil pollution on coral reefs for three decades. “It’s a difficult place to navigate.”

The reef, as much as 65 kilometers wide, is a breeding ground for humpback whales and is host to the world’s largest collection of corals, more than 1,500 species of tropical fish and more than 200 kinds of sea birds. Australia may tighten up monitoring of vessels travelling through the reef and require more pilots to guide ships, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

Gladstone is one of 10 major ports near the World Heritage listed site, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Bob Brown, the senator who heads the Australian Greens party, said this week companies are “making a coal highway” out of the reef.

Gas Boom
About 1,500 ships are expected to pass through Gladstone this year, said an official at the port, who declined to be named because of company policy.

photo by Reuters


Attached Image (viewed 1080 times):

coalshipgreatbarrier.jpg

Last edited on Fri Apr 9th, 2010 06:08 pm by sydneyst


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