A vessel carrying a 100-ton concrete-and-steel containment box, designed to siphon off the oil that’s oozing from the blown-out well into the Gulf of Mexico, has officially arrived to the hotspot…
By using this contraption, engineers are hoping it will be the best ‘short-term’ solution to controlling the leak that has only worsened since the explosion April 20th. The vessel that’s hauling the specially built containment box left the Louisiana Coast Wednesday night and arrived Thursday morning.
Another boat with a crane will be used to lower the contraption to the seafloor to cover the gusher of oil spewing from the seabed--something that's never been tried before at such depths. BP officials expect that to take place by noon Thursday.
Meanwhile, as the watch over the oil spill continues here in the panhandle and along the Gulf, the U.S. Coast Guard and Bay County Emergency Operations officials have selected the Panama City Marina as the federal staging area for Deepwater Horizon Response.
Crews will use the Panama City Marina to deploy booms to areas threatened by the oil slick that's still growing in the Gulf. Once authorities identify the potentially threatened areas, boats will carry the booms from the marina to the designated hot spots.
The marina will take-on the extra mission beginning at 8:00 Thursday morning; at that same time the Bay County EOC will go to level-one activation. The EOC is assisting the Coast Guard with the planning and logistics and additionally hosting daily status briefings.
The only inconvenience for the public will be the closure of the marina boat ramp for the duration of staging operations.
Across the Panhandle in Walton County, officials have devised quite a unique, one-of-a-kind action plan they believe will immobilize oil in the Gulf if it continues to head to the Florida panhandle.
On Wednesday bales of hay were hauled in by the hundreds along the twenty-six miles of coastline in South Walton county. Walton County Sheriff's office along with C.W. Roberts believe the hay will act as an absorbing agent to soak up oil, ultimately turning the mixture into a 'seaweed like' consistency, which in turn, makes for easy removal. This innovative method is thought to be more effective than booming which sometimes fails in open waters.
"Everyone is looking for new ideas and different ways to attack the issue,” said Walton Co. Sheriff Mike Adkinson. “I went down there and saw the demonstration and said, 'this is a real possibility with a practical application.”
The plan is currently in the process of being approved by the DEP, however, in the meantime, the sheriff's office says it will continue moving forward with their efforts.
And it's being reported several top officials with the Obama administration will be traveling to the Gulf at some point Thursday to get a closer look at the disastrous oil spill.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco will meet with federal, state and local officials to discuss the effects of the oil spill. They will also discuss the impact of the spill with local business owners.