Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

Fire In The Gulf

Image by US Coast Guard
Image by US Coast Guard
Deepwater Horizon as viewed from the offshore supply vessel Laney Chouest. Copyright salad997 Richard Sullivan
Deepwater Horizon as viewed from the offshore supply vessel Laney Chouest. Copyright salad997 Richard Sullivan

In April 2010 the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform exploded into flames in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven lives were lost in the initial explosion although rescue efforts lasted for three days in a 10 mile radius. Seventeen people were injured in the explosion. Some might call it the wake up call heard around the world. The environmental impact on local gulf coast habitats cannot yet be measured and may not be recovered for years. Adding to the tragedy on April 22, 2010 the platform sank in 5000 feet of water leaving a gushing leak of crude oil to spill into the ocean endangering the entire coastline of the Gulf Coast that includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Mexico. Wildlife habitats are in danger as well as all levels of ocean plant and sea life.

Top Hat

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley.

Top Hat

In the aftermath of the worst oil spill disaster in history BP initially estimated that merely 5000 gallons of crude was leaking into the gulf. Over a period of days in early June estimates grew until scientists took their own readings and now the estimates are a staggering 2.52 million gallons every day! It is believed that during the attempt to place Top Hat, the cap that was expected to cut off the flow, workers cut off a kinked pipe that was restricting the flow. With the pipe now gone the oil is now free to gush into the gulf thus compounding an already disastrous situation.

Protecting the Coast

Grand Isle, Louisiana copyright DIDSHUB
Grand Isle, Louisiana copyright DIDSHUB
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Workers Brought in to Protect the Coastline

In an attempt to stop the oil from reaching the shore oil booms have been placed off the coast of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida as the 100,000 square mile oil slick approaches beaches and endangered habitats that if destroyed may not be recovered in a lifetime, if ever. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a republican, and the first Indian governor to serve in the US worked tirelessly to protect the Louisiana coastline from the oil. The governor's request to build barrier islands off the coast was refused by the government. Governor Jindal states that the oil has already penetrated ten miles into sensitive marshlands so vital to the Louisiana habitat.

Obama Administration on the Oil Spil

The Obama Administration took their time responding to the oil spill. It is unknown whether they underestimated the damage to the environment or initially trusted BP to be truthful and do the right thing. It has emerged during the ensuing investigation that BP has a history of safety violations that overwhelms the one or two safety violations of every other oil company. During 2006 BP was cited with 760 safety violations in one year. CEO Tony Hayward was brought in to get the safety situation under control but in view of this historic spill that initial investigation appears to have resulted from another safety violation or lack of maintenance on equipment does not look good. This week it was revealed that the battery attached to the blow out protector was dead and did not respond during the incident. This is an egregious violation that reveals that consistent maintenance was not being performed on the drilling platform.

CEO Tony Hayward and BP board members were summoned to a meeting with the White House where President Obama instructed them to set up a $20 billion dollar fund to compensate the victims of this disaster. While everyone believes BP should be made to pay dearly for this mega-disaster, controversy erupted around the manner in which the Obama Administration handled the request . Pundits cry foul because in a free society the government does not order business to make restitution. According conservatives it would be more appropriate for the regulators and legal institutions to issue this demand.

In spite of the controversy the people of the Gulf Coast are already suffering from job loss and business loss. The economy of the entire region is being affected during this busy tourism season. Tourism is dead and vacationer are not flocking to the beaches a they have in former years.

Prayer For The Gulf Coast

The combined governors of the Gulf Coast States, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida issued a call to prayer for protection and healing of their states.

Texas: Governor Rick Perry's Prayer Proclamation

Louisiana: Governor Bobby Jindal's Prayer Proclamation

Mississippi: Governor Haley Barbour's Prayer Proclamation

President Obama Meeting With BP CEO Tony Hayward

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Comments 15 comments

Erafhy 3 years ago

would like more information about what you do in the United States I know you help with diasetsr relief but what kind and how soon after the diasetsr also are there chapters in other states? Thanks

Lawyer For You profile image

Lawyer For You 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Almost a year later, there are still negative effects of this spill impacting the Gulf coast. Hopefully, the coastline will be restored in the near future.

Smireles profile image

Smireles 5 years ago from Texas Author

Hello Harlan. Thanks for reading and bringing a real look at what is happening to workers in the oil busines. It is a shame.

Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

Update of sorts:

I am now layed off and sitting at home since January 2011. I know thousands of gulf workers have been laid-off. I have not heard one peep in the news. The Southern states are going to be hit hard by this. Sorry to report. The orange/tan boats in your pics are owned by Chouest, pronounced "schwest" which also owns the Lousiana port of Fourchon, just laid off over 1000 people, or so I hear. I didn't work for them. My company laid off over 100 people.

Oh well I get to sit home and play in my garden awhile and write hubs.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hello Harlan Colt, I am sorry you have been out of the loop. I am enclosing a link to a BBC news story. Don't know how true it is but things are looking better. They say that around 70% of the oil has dissipated so that is definitely a good thing. Still a big problem, though.

Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

Hey Smireles,

I was one of the submarine pilots working desperately to stop the leak. I sat right at that leak for over a month, watching it spew out hour after hour, day after day before we capped it. We get no news out here... what is happening on shore? I have no clue. Has all the oil hit shore or did it go somewhere else? Also, I have photos that will blow your mind, I hope to post one day.

- Keep me updated! Thank you,

- Harlan

Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

heymcs, I understand your feelings. I live in Humble which is just north of Houston and Galveston. The massive amounts of oil pouring into our Gulf is horrifying and I think you are right. They will not be able to recover this mess in our lifetimes or the lifetimes of my grandchildren. What a mess!

heymcs profile image

heymcs 6 years ago from Utah and DC

I grew up in Cocoa Beach and I haven't slept well since this happened. I feel so powerless and want to do more to help the people suffering - thank you for including the prayer proclamation information as I didn't know about that; wish I had and happy to see. I heard last night the oil is now in Lake Pontchartrain (and now touching all the Gulf States), killed over 60,000 birds. People have no jobs, no money for food or rent, the beautiful beaches are destroyed and there is no end in sight. I'm afraid the damage is even beyond repair and not to be seen even in my lifetime. Sorry this is such a rambling mess of a comment!

Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

bayoulady, I did not know about it until the actual day of prayer so was not prepared for it. Still I was impressed with all the governors except Christ who left it to his Lt Governor. We should acknowledge God in all our doings. Thanks for stopping by.

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Thanks for this hub. Great reporting.I don't know how I missed it, but I was not aware of a Day of Prayer proclamation from the coastal governors. I was really touched to read my governor's proclamation.(Bobby Jindal) He is a good Christian man, and I think he is doing all that he can.

Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

JudyDiane and Ginn, this is a bad situation. Nothing will replace those lives. So sad...

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 6 years ago

The sad part of this is that it will continue to happen because politics and money have the power. When will we stop depending on OIL alone.

Solar and wind power are some of the alternatives that would make a cleaner environment for all but the oil lobbyist are working hard to keep that out.

Nothing will bring back those lives of men and wildlife

judydianne profile image

judydianne 6 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

It's just a matter of time before it hits our beautiful beaches in Florida. Pensacola has already seen it.

We need it fixed now! Thanks, Smireles, for bringing attention to one of the worst oil spills in our history.

Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

I was anxious when this accident happened but I am now fearful that something dreadful has happened that may now be fixed in our lifetime. The volume of oil going into the gulf is almost unimaginable. I live in oil country and believe in safety first, but this is really off the edge! Get it fixed!

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV


Fix the leak as soon as possible. Clean up the spill as soon as possible. Save the shoreline anyway possible. Then sort out the cost, and then let lawyers do their thing. There's no excuse for anything less!!!!!!!

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