Crews have been working with little success to stem the oil slick that has now grown to the size of Puerto Rico.
Removing oil from the surface by skimming it, burning it or dispersing it with chemicals has done little to stop the increasing oil slick, but solutions to stop it are on the way. BP’s chairman blames a “failed piece of equipment” and that he can’t say when the hole will be plugged.
They are trying to activate a “blowout preventer,” a mechanism meant to seal off the gushing oil. “As you can imagine, it’s like doing open-heart surgery at 5,000 feet, (in the dark) with robot controlled submarines,” BP PLC chairman Lamar McKay said.
The blowout preventer was the main line of defense against this type of accident.” It “seemed inconceivable” that it would fail. The blowout preventer is meant to activate (after a blast) to cut off spilling oil. The cause of the blast that killed 11 workers is still a mystery.
A 74-ton metal and concrete box could be placed over the well in the next six to eight days. Spokesmen for the company explained the oil would flow into the chamber and then be sucked through a tube into a tanker ship. The box will be 40 feet tall, 24 feet wide and 14 feet deep.
Taken by NASA 4/25/10
Photo Credit: NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team