BP has launched the next phase of its effort to contain and clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with an expansion of onshore preparations in case spilled oil should reach the coast.
The company is ramping up preparations for a protection and cleaning effort on the shorelines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
To add to its Houma, Louisiana incident command post, which oversees the offshore containment effort and onshore response in Louisiana, BP is now establishing a similar onshore incident command post in Mobile, Alabama to oversee the onshore response in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Work will continue to complete installing marine protection booms along the coast. As well as 180,000 feet of boom already in the water, an additional 300,000 feet is staged or in the process of being deployed, with more on the way, BP said.
BP added that it is mobilizing its full resources to fight the oil spill, which follows the sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Mississippi Canyon 252 block. This includes efforts to stem the flow of oil into the water from the sub-sea well, to contain the spill offshore and to protect the Gulf coast.
The new onshore activity is focused on five locations in the potentially affected states: Venice, Louisiana; Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida. Staging posts are in place stocked with people and material, including about 100,000 feet of boom, to protect the shoreline in each area.
Each of the states has oil spill response plans already in place and trained community groups and volunteers will also be available to aid the response to the oil spill and deploy resources, according to the company.
Parallel to these, BP is setting up offices in each of these communities manned by company staff to provide information on what is happening, what is being done and any developments. These will connect with local government officials, community and other groups to provide information on developments.
Tony Hayward, group chief executive of BP, said: “We are doing absolutely everything in our power to eliminate the source of the leak and contain the environmental impact of the spill. We are determined to fight this spill on all fronts, in the deep waters of the Gulf, in the shallow waters and, should it be necessary, on the shore.”