The U.S. Coast guard, together with various clean-up crews on-site, are trying to trace the origin of an oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico that happened shortly after Hurricane Ida.

A private team has been enlisted to try and locate the source of the oil spill first found in the Bay Marchand area of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, September 5. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed satellite images showing the spill some two miles (3 kilometers) off Port Fourchon in Louisiana.

The images appear to show the slick, brown-black mass of material in the images to be drifting more than a dozen miles (19 kilometers) eastward along the Gulf.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill - Gulf of Mexico
(Photo: kris krüg via Wikimedia Commons)
A ship floats amongst a sea of spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

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Aftermath of Hurricane Ida?

The oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico was detected shortly after Hurricane Ida hit the Pelican State about a week ago, accelerating into the northeast, and causing intense flooding in New York and other states in the region before leaving for the Atlantic.

The hurricane left at least 17 dead in New York and 13 in Louisiana, according to Reuters, and at least $50 billion in damages, according to the Associated Press.

In a separate report from Reuters, a spokesperson from the U.S. Coast Guard said that offshore energy company Talos Energy has hired Clean Gulf Associates to check the slick and has contracted the associates' private dive team to find its source. Additionally, reports quote Talos that it believes it is not responsible for the suspected oil spill on the Gulf.

A team involving the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit's prevention department and the Gulf Strike team are already monitoring reports. They are over NOAA satellite images to precisely understand the scope of the oil spill.

Once the source is found, the Coast Guard and its partners will be working on a recovery and source control plan. Also, Clean Gulf Associates has already placed skimmers, which, according to the U.S. EPA, are devices for recovering spilled oil from the surface of the water and a containment boom surrounding the affected area.

Site for Oil Spills

Various oil spills have occurred in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, including the worst oil spill in U.S. history. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible drilling rig operated by British Petroleum, suffered fire and explosion and sunk two days after.

It led to the death of 11 people and the injury of about 17. The wellhead of Deepwater Horizon started leaking oil, and the riser, which is a 5,000-foot-long pipe that connects the wellhead to the rig, disconnected. This resulted in millions of gallons of oil leaking into the surrounding waters.

It resulted in a spill of approximately 210 million U.S. gallons of oil, including the oil that was later collected, making it the world's largest accidental oil spill, as reported by The New York Times in 2010.


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