Tuesday was a busy day on the Latitude, as the crew docked in Mississippi to share preliminary findings of the first weeks on the water. Here's Dustin's update:
The Oceana Latitude arrived in Gulfport, Miss., late Monday. Over the next few days, equipment for Oceana’s upcoming deepwater oil exploration efforts will be loaded onto the vessel.
On Tuesday, Oceana was joined for a press conference by corporate partner Nautica and celebrity activists, including award-winning actors Ted Danson and Morgan Freeman as well as New York-based Spanish model Almudena Fernandez and San Pedro (Belize) mayor Elsa Paz.
At the press conference, experts provided an update on the first legs of the two-month research expedition and discussed the approaching efforts to map the subsurface oil plume with cutting-edge science and document seafloor habitat areas that may have been harmed by underwater oil with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of reaching depths of more than 3,200 feet and filming in high-definition.
The press conference was covered by several media outlets, including Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, EFE, CBC Radio, Biloxi Sun Herald, Mississippi Press and local ABC affiliate WLOX.
Scientist-in-charge of the expedition Dr. Michael Hirshfield also led two tours to Ship Island on Tuesday. Ship Island, which survived Hurricane’s Camille and Katrina, was devastated by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Although this island’s fort was once capable of protecting the local coasts, it was no defense against oil. According to BP contractors, 1,200 pounds of sandy tar balls were removed from the island Tuesday, 1,400 pounds Monday and 1,600 pounds Sunday.
Here’s your expedition update for today, from Oceana’s senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor:
After nearly 30 hours in commute, we finally arrived to Tampa.
The crew took off early this morning on the Oceana Lat-Long, the Latitude’s 28-foot tender, to dive at Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Egmont Key, a national wildlife refuge only accessible by boat, was home to Fort Dade during the Spanish-American war. Although this island was once capable of protecting our coasts from offshore invaders, it’s no defense against oil.
Here’s support diver Soledad Esnaola: