US coast guard clears up oil spill left in wake of Hurricane Ida

Sept 5, 2021:  The US Coast Guard says clean-up crews are responding to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ida, while a private team of divers is ready to dive underwater to find the source of the leak.

US Coast Guard spokesman Lt. John Edwards said Saturday that Clean Gulf Associates, a nonprofit oil spill response cooperative, has placed a containment boom in the area to prevent further oil spills.

The company also operates vessel skimmers that can extract oil from water, although so far only 42 gallons of oil have been extracted.

The oil spill, which continues to expand, appears to be coming from water on an underwater drilling lease about 2 miles south of Port Fourchon in Louisiana, which is a center of oil and gas drilling.

The spill is so far out at sea and has left the Louisiana shoreline untouched and while at present it is unknown what the volume of the oil in the water is, satellite images by AP show it covers an area of over 12 miles along the gulf coast.

Response teams are monitoring reports and satellite imagery to determine the scope of the leak, US coast guards’ spokesperson Edwards said.

He said that the source of the pollution was located in Bay Marchand, Block 4 and it was believed to be crude oil from the Talos Energy underground pipeline off the US gulf coast.

Brian L. Grove, a spokesman for the US, Houston-based energy company, said it had hired Clean Gulf Associates to respond to the spill, although the company believes it is not responsible for the oil in the water. On Sunday, Talos will send a team of divers to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Once the source is identified, the US Coast Guard says it will work on a rehabilitation and source control plan.

The Bay Marchand Spill is one of dozens of reported environmental hazards that regulators are responding to after the category 4 hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana and the US Gulf coast.

The Category 4 hurricane was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the US gulf coast. It landed in Louisiana last Sunday, destroying entire communities. Its remnants left large parts of New York without power and flooded massive sections of roads underwater and forced the closure of metro lines as the tropical storm raged.

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