"The Deepwater Horizon’s Very Unhappy Anniversary"

"A recent scientific expedition to the Gulf of Mexico seafloor shows just how little things have improved near the broken well."

"In March 2024, about a dozen scientists and crew members ventured into the Gulf of Mexico armed with an underwater rover, crab traps, and other research kit. Led by Craig McClain, a deep-sea biologist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the team set out to study the site where, on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and setting off one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.

It was McClain’s third trip to the disaster’s ground zero, and despite the 14 years that have elapsed, he found that wildlife surrounding the exploded wellhead was still suffering. The absence of life is noticeable, says McClain, and what is there doesn’t seem healthy.

Unlike other wrecks, which tend to become habitats for marine species over time, the sunken Deepwater Horizon has remained comparatively sterile. Organisms that typically inhabit the Gulf’s seafloor—such as sea cucumbers, giant isopods, corals, and sea anemones—are simply missing, says McClain. Perhaps more concerning are the crabs. Naturally red, the crabs McClain and his team pulled up in their traps were tinted an oily black; many were also missing legs, while others had lesions.

When disaster first struck, scientists and locals couldn’t help but notice the mass die-offs of dolphins, pelicans, oysters, and other marine species. But as the years have rolled on, many of the remediation efforts meant to clean up the spill—which coated the Gulf in four million barrels of oil—have been focused on land."

Xander Peters reports for Hakai magazine April 19, 2024.


"Once Praised, Settlement To Help Sickened BP Oil Spill Workers Leaves Most With Nearly Nothing" (AP)

"Takeaways From AP’s Story On The BP Oil Spill Medical Settlement’s Shortcomings" (AP)

"BP Defeated Thousands Of Suits By Sick Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers. But Not One By A Boat Captain" (AP)

Source: Hakai, 04/23/2024