Feds Find Large Pockets Of Submerged Oil, Vow “Intensive Search” and Point Fingers At Boaters and Natural Seeps


As Federal Government officials admit to finding large pockets of submerged oil near Pensacola Beach in Florida they vow to launch an intensive search and say they don’t expect to find much.

Instead of blaming BP they point their fingers at boaters emptying bilges and natural natural seeps as the source of oil that they might find.

The Pensacola New Journal reports:

Oil spill: Search is on for more oil in waterways

The discovery of a large pocket of submerged oil at Barrancas Beach near Pensacola Naval Air Station and others like it coincide with the launching of a large, intensive search for submerged oil in the Gulf of Mexico and inland bays.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard are leading the search.

They’re using 75 vessels of opportunity in bays and inland waterways and up to three miles into the Gulf, from Louisiana to Apalachicola. Other teams are working in deeper depths farther out in the Gulf.

On Thursday, four vessels began searching Perdido Bay, Chief Petty Officer Mark Boivin said. The boats will begin searching for oil in Pensacola Bay this week, Coast Guard Lt. Stephen West said.

Boivin said he expects the searches of near-shore waters to continue for about two weeks, up and down the coast.

During this time, he said, the Coast Guard needs the public’s help.

“We need anyone who thinks they’ve seen oil to report it,” he said. “We want to investigate it and clean it up.”

Ruth Yender, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientific support coordinator, said the plan is to move as quickly as possible to recover oil, especially since the hurricane season is heating up.

“We want to return everything to the way it was before the oil spill,” she said.

But Yender and Boivin both said they did not anticipate the searchers finding much oil. And if they do, it will be tested to make sure its fingerprint matches the BP oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, they said.

Judy Silverstein, a Coast Guard spokeswoman at Incident Command in Mobile, said testing is necessary because people are taking advantage of the BP oil spill and dumping their oily bilges.

And, she said, some of the oil could be from natural seepage into the Gulf.



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