Posted by Helen Barnes - email
ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) A growing collection of crippled equipment littered the ocean floor Sunday near a ruptured oil well gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico, the remnants of a massive rig that exploded weeks ago and the failed efforts since to cap the leak.
On the surface, nearly a mile up, a fleet of ships maneuvered to deploy the latest stopgap plans hatched by BP engineers desperate to keep the Deepwater Horizon disaster from becoming the nation's worst spill. An estimated 3.5 million gallons has risen from the depths since the April 20 explosion that killed 11, a pace that would surpass the total spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster by Father's Day.
A day after icelike crystals clogged a four-story box that workers had lowered atop the main leak, crews using remote-controlled submarines hauled the specially built structure more than a quarter-mile away and prepared other long-shot methods of stopping the flow.
One technique would use a tube to shoot mud and concrete directly into the well's blowout preventer, a process that could take two to three weeks. BP PLC spokesman Mark Proegler said no decisions have been made on what step the company will take next.
It could be at least a day before BP can make another attempt at putting a lid on a well spewing at least 200,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf each day.