April 27, 2010
NOAA issues update on Deepwater Horizon response
A NOAA update on the Deepwater Horizon response, released Tuesday evening, said that responders were again unsuccessful in using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to trigger the blowout preventer (BOP), a series of valves that sits at the well head. Additional options are still being developed to trigger the BOP. The Unified Command is also considering using controlled burning to control oil floating on the surface.
Construction has begun on a collection dome that will be deployed to the sea floor to collect and funnel oil as it escapes from the well, a method that has never been tried this deep before. The first rig to be used for drilling a relief or cut-off well arrived last night, several more are planned - a relief well would take several months to complete.
Current NOAA efforts are focused on: gathering more information about the spill, planning for containment, and readying for environmental assessment and response. Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) activities are now underway.
The edge of the area with visible oil is now 21 miles from the nearest point of land - SW Pass at the tip of the Mississippi River Delta.
Weather is forecast to be favorable (5-10 kts from the north) on Wednesday for in situ burning, dispersant application, and skimming operations. This wind will take the floating oil offshore.
Winds are forecast to become strong (20+ kts) and blow from the southeast on Thursday, which will tend to push surface oil towards shore.
The latest NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses do not indicate oil coming to shore over the next 72 hours. However protective booms (or floating barriers) are being deployed in sensitive areas. The effects of oil on sensitive habitats and shorelines in four states (LA, MS, AL, and FL) are being evaluated should oil from the incident make landfall in appreciable quantities
NOAA's Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD) brought together more than 20 Federal and State natural resource trustees Tuesday to discuss natural resource damage assessment efforts
ARD is evaluating concerns about potential injuries of oil and dispersants to fishes, human use of fisheries, marine mammals, turtles, and sensitive resources.