The devastating oil spill, which the Louisiana coast is facing after a rig failure, is receiving some assistance from a local ship among others, reported today by the Virginian-Pilot. (provided courtesy of hamptonroads.com here).
This is the first time the vessel has been called into duty. It departed April 26 and arrived on scene May 4. Officials and federal authorities are still trying to determine the remedy to this looming environmental disaster, caused by an oil rig which sunk some 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
The ship, “The Virginia Responder,” has been harbored in Little Creek, Virginia Beach for 17 years and includes an 8-person crew. Five of those crew-members are locally based; the ship is paid for by oil companies, but is operated by a nonprofit organization, according to the Pilot. Specifically, the Virginia Responder is just one such vessel of 22 across the nation, that are equipped to respond to oil spills. The nonprofit organization operating the Responder is known as Marine Spill Response Corporation.
The tasks for the Responder include oil skimming, and prevention of further oil dispersion. Specifically, there is concern that oil may leak west of the Mississippi River. The Responder, along with nine other similar ships, have been primarily focusing on a radius of 5 miles around the rig, which now is located upon the ocean floor.
The magnitude of the oil spill is huge; in fact, almost 300 response vessels are involved. According to www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com, over 3.5 million gallons of water tainted with oil have been treated and/or recovered. The above source provides updates on the disaster, and for those who are watching this story unfold, it is an invaluable resource.
The Virginia Responder has a limited capacity and thus is working with other larger vessels so that it may work fervently on the disaster.