In today's dispatch from Dustin, the crew is suddenly surrounded by oil rigs in the gulf:
The Oceana Latitude navigated through a minefield of hundreds of oil platforms (out of the thousands that exist in the Gulf of Mexico) today.
Although Oceana’s experts were aware of the size of the industry in the region, seeing the rigs in person put it into an entirely new perspective. It’s truly dumb luck that we haven't faced more problems up to now. Dr. Mike Hirshfield, Oceana's Chief Scientist said, "Seeing another Transocean deepwater drilling rig poised to resume drilling as soon as someone gives them permission sent a cold chill down my back."
And don’t worry if you haven’t seen one of these rigs for yourself, as Congress and the Obama Administration could be bringing them to a coast near you unless we all join together in opposition of new offshore drilling.
A hundred days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, it appears that BP has finally succeeded in controlling the blowout that spewed millions of gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet to paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is just the end of the beginning. The creatures that live in, and the people that depend on the Gulf of Mexico will be affected by the oil spill for years, and we are just starting to comprehend the scope of this tragedy.
That’s why I am pleased to announce that Oceana is launching an ambitious, eight-week scientific expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. We will assess the effects of the oil spill on the marine environment, and we will trumpet the message that ocean oil drilling is too dangerous to be allowed to wreck any more of our oceans and our beaches.
This expedition team, led by Oceana’s Chief Scientist Mike Hirshfield and Oceana’s vice president for Europe, Xavier Pastor, will also include research by Dr. Jeff Short, Oceana’s Pacific science director and one of the world’s leading experts on Exxon Valdez and the effects of oil spills from his years as a government scientist at NOAA. The crew also includes scientists, divers and underwater photographers from our U.S., Chile and Spain offices, as well as academic scientists.
Working from the Latitude, a 167-foot ship capable of sailing in shallow and deep waters, the crew will test for underwater oil and study important seafloor habitats as well as the migratory marine life affected by the spill. This includes endangered sea turtles as well as the rare whale shark.
We are fortunate to have supporters who believe in Oceana’s targeted, science-based work and make this kind of original research possible. The facts uncovered by our on-the-water team will be critical in the fight to end dangerous offshore drilling.
You can give today to help us support the critical work of the expedition. Please help us protect the oceans today!
When the expedition launches in early August, we will post frequent updates on Oceana.org, and I’ll be sure to share the most exciting developments with you.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.