My uncle is a helicopter pilot and had the chance about a week ago to spend some time in Louisiana. He has shared some interesting stories and pictures regarding the Deepwater Horizon spill, and specifically BP's involvement in the clean-up efforts. Regardless of politics or fault, I think it is very interesting to hear about BP's unreported efforts and what they are doing down there. It makes me so mad when the media won't report the full story -- whatever the story of the hour happens to be.
I asked if I could share... Hopefully the accounts below will still flow and make sense since I cut and pasted bits and pieces...
"Chris took a week of work to fly over in Hopedale, LA. Some of these pics were taken a couple of days ago by photographers from the Livingston Group, a think-tank from D.C. Chris was their pilot. Today, he was the pilot for the photographer from National Geographic. Sony Bono's wife and her constituents were supposed to be Chris's passengers the day before last, but she couldn't make it. Hopedale is south of New Orleans and right on the ocean front. Where there was once one dock, there are now 10 docks. Chris says, "the work and money going into this clean-up effort is unfathomable." 1300 boats are commissioned by BP to aid (that's pretty much all of them, it's been difficult for Chris to find rescue boats back at the operations mgr. desk in Lafayette). He, along with everyone else is fed 3 square meals a day (thanks to BP) in a couple of mess-tents that each fit 4-500 people. Rotorcraft Leasing just got 2 more contracts with BP oil and the Sheriff's Dept. The name for the oil leak/explosion area is called "The Source".
You can see the helipad before the BP camp was set up.
You can see the original helipad as a comparison.
"The Hopedale staging area is one of about ten other clean-up staging centers and all have been built by BP Oil under unified command with the Coast Guard. Hopedale was just a simple private fisherman's dock and parking lot. It is now the home of 2000+ people and is growing everyday. Rotorcraft Leasing alone in the past 5 days has poured 4 full-size heli-pads, delivered living quarters for 4 people, installed a 4600 gallon fuel system, and a likelihood of another aircraft on location totalling 4 aircraft now. That's just Rotorcraft, not to mention everyone else-hundreds of companies-local people who know what they are doing. Chris also said that he talked to an environmental specialist who said the heat, temperatures of 95 with extreme high humidity, so 110 degrees with the heat index levels, work as an advantage for this oil spill compared to the Exxon Valdez (sp?) spill. The heat helps break up the oil and helps the oil evaporate--thank goodness! Workers look like they are in Saudi Arabia wearing head drapes with hard hats. The barges or tankers are so enormous, the pictures don't do them justice. Hopefully the National Geographic pics will. One of the drilling rigs that is drilling a relief well had to travel all the way from half way around the world. Another started drilling a relief well immediately after the explosion. BP has known this is the most effective way to stop the flow. They will be finished in August (a 90 day process). It always takes this long because of being in the deep waters. There aren't very many deep water rigs compared to shallow water drilling because of this."
"Chris got special clearance to fly low for the National Geographic and two huge oil puddles were being burned off--huge fires! The NG photographer loved this and said - this is definetly going to be in the article."