Contentions In The Gulf Essay

1473 words - 6 pages

On April 20th 2010 a catastrophic explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico caused what was soon to become one of the most horrendous and controversial issues of 2010. The cause of this dramatic event was uncertain and, therefore, called for an investigation team to get to the bottom of the situation. Through a review of rig audit findings and maintenance records, the investigation team found indications of potential weaknesses in the testing regime and maintenance management system for the BOP. The team did not identify any single action or inaction that caused this accident. Rather, a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces came together to allow the initiation and escalation of the accident. Multiple companies, work teams and circumstances were involved over time (BP Internal Investigation Team). From that one explosion, seventeen people were injured and eleven people were missing and eventually pronounced dead (BP Oil Spill Timeline). President Barack Obama stated it best, as he called the scene unfolding in the Gulf a "massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster." Owing to the fact that the enormity of this oil spill did not only leave casualties, but also affected the world in many ways soon to come such as environmentally, economically, and politically.
After the spill, 78% of surveyed respondents said that the spill would have a major long-term effect on the environment (Giodel). Two days after the catastrophe, On April 22nd, the first signs of oil in the water were documented. A five-mile long oil slick right outside the location of the sunken rig laid the foundation for the troublesome times ahead. Coastguard officials in New Orleans said the spill, from the Deepwater Horizon rig, covered an estimated 10 square miles. Oil officials initially feared up to 336,000 gallons of crude oil a day could rise from the sea (BP Oil Spill Timeline). This was the first sign of what was soon to become a ghastly spread of oil. Just two weeks later the slick covered a mass of at least 2,000 square miles, growing every day, while it threatened the lives of the wildlife. Scientists worried that ocean currents could carry the oil around the tip of Florida to the beaches of the East Coast. They feared that the spill threatened the coastline of the Gulf and the rich variety of wildlife. The oil is pernicious to fish, shrimp and oysters, while shorebirds that came into contact with the crude ended up stifled. Other species at risk include terns and gulls that nest on the beach, including the Caspian tern, royal tern, laughing gull and the black skimmer. These birds congregate on the beaches and descend into the water to feed on fish and other marine life; therefore they are at risk from oil on the surface of the water or if it washes ashore. The bayous and beaches of Louisiana — home to about 40% of the coastal wetlands in the continental...

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