Unified Command center set up to deal with oil slick

Photo courtesy: Ala. Gov. press office
Photo courtesy: Ala. Gov. press office

MOBIL, AL - A Unified Command (UC) has been established at the United States Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Alabama, comprised of the states of Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, as part of the Deepwater Horizon response.

The UC is comprised of BP, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida Emergency Management Agencies and the local Emergency Management Agencies. A Joint Information Center (JIC) in Mobile, AL, also has been established providing for the flow of information as part of Deepwater Horizon response.

The Unified Command continues with a comprehensive oil well intervention and spill-response plan following the April 22 sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 48 miles southeast of Venice, LA.  More than 1,700 personnel are involved in the response effort both on and offshore with additional resources being mobilized and deployed.

More than 174,060 feet of boom (barrier) has been assigned to contain the spill.  An additional 243,260 feet is staged and being deployed and an additional 265,460 feet have been ordered. To date, the oil spill response team has recovered 18,180 barrels (763,560 gallons) of an oil-water mix.  Vessels are in place and continuing recovery operations.

The Unified Command is actively involved in implementing its booming strategy.  Booming is a series of connected barriers to keep oil from impacting the coastline.

Based on current trajectories, priority areas have been indentified to place the boom (barriers) in the waterways anticipated to be impacted. The areas are as follows: Ship Island, Petit Bois Island, Dauphin Island, Bon Secour, coastal areas in Daphne to Point Clear, Weeks Bay, sensitive marsh areas and entrances to the rivers, Peridido Key, and Fort Pickens.  Additional areas will be designated for booms as trajectories are updated.

The Minerals Management Service remains in contact with all oil and gas operators in the sheen area.  Currently, no production has been curtailed as a result of the response effort.

Additional Incident Facts:

A flyover on Wednesday, April 28, at 2:00 p.m. (CDT), continued to show a large, rainbow sheen with areas of emulsified crude, approximately 16 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

On April 28, at approximately 4:45 p.m. (CDT), the response team conducted a successful, controlled burn and is evaluating conducting additional burns.

76 response vessels are being used including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.98,361 gallons of dispersant have been deployed and an additional 75,000 gallons are available.

Five staging areas across the Gulf are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines.  These areas include: Biloxi, MS, Pensacola, FL, Venice, LA, Pascagoula, MS, and Bayou La Batre, AL.