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small noaa logo Home | Emergency Response | Recent and Historical Incidents
Latest NewsNOAA RolesLearn More

Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico

Deepwater Horizon Overflight Photo
Mississippi Canyon 252 Overflight
taken 4/26/2010 at 11:26 am

Updated each evening
Situation: Wednesday 28 April

Workers finished fabricating the containment chamber portion of the collection dome that will be deployed to the sea floor to collect oil as it escapes from the well.  Work will now begin on the piping system that brings the oil to the surface for collection; this method has never been tried at this depth before.  The first rig to be used for drilling a relief or cut-off well is on site and should begin drilling approximately ½ a mile from the well head on Friday.  The relief well will not be complete for several months.  Responders are still figuring out new ways to use Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to try to trigger the blowout preventer (BOP), a series of valves that sits at the well head.   These efforts will continue concurrent with the collection dome and relief well(s).  Good weather today allowed for both skimming operations and aggressive aerial application of dispersants - over 50,000 gallons of dispersant have been applied to the surface oil in the last two days.  Patches of surface oil were captured with fire-retardant boom and ignited (in situ burn).

Current NOAA efforts are focused on: gathering more information about the spill, planning for open water and shoreline remediation, and readying for environmental assessment and response. Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) activities are now underway. 

  • Winds are forecast to become strong (20+ kts) and blow from the southeast starting tomorrow and continuing through the weekend, which will continue to push surface oil towards shore
  • NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses indicate that oil continues to move towards shore.
  • 100,000’ of oil-containment booms (or floating barriers) have been deployed as a precaution to protect sensitive areas in the Louisiana area.
  • The effects of oil on sensitive habitats and shorelines in four states (LA, MS, AL, and FL) are being evaluated should oil from the incident make landfall in appreciable quantities
  • NOAA’s Assessment and Restoration Division is evaluating concerns about potential injuries of oil and dispersants to fishes, human use of fisheries, marine mammals, turtles, and sensitive resources
  • Baseline aerial surveys to assess marine life were conducted today with personnel from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), these will continue as needed

Media Inquiries

For NOAA media inquiries, please contact: Keeley Belva at or 301.713.3066.

For response inquiries, please contact: Joint Information Center (JIC) at 985.902.5231 or 985.902.5240.


The incident involves a deepwater drilling platform approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. An explosion and subsequent fire damaged the rig, which capsized and sank on April 22, after burning for hours. It is unclear how much of the estimated 700,000 gallons (approximately 16,700 barrels) of #2 fuel onboard burned before it sank.  The rig is owned by Transocean and under contract to BP.

More Information about this Incident
  • The Louisiana Regional Restoration Planning Program Federal and Louisiana natural resource trustees have developed a statewide Louisiana Regional Restoration Planning Program to assist the natural resource trustees in carrying out their Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) responsibilities. [leaves OR&R site]
Visual Resources
Links to photo and video galleries related to this incident on other Web sites.
  • NOAA Deepwater Horizon Footage A direct link to a large Quicktime format video file hosted on the National Ocean Service website. [leaves OR&R site]
  • Imagery from NASA Earth Observatory Images of the affected area, captured on April 25, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite, and the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. [leaves OR&R site]

  • Deepwater Horizon Trajectory Map Cumulative for 22 April through 26 April 2010, including forecast for 27 April. Based on trajectories and overflight information.
    (Image format: PDF, size: 260.1 K)
  • Open Water Oil Identification Job Aid An aid created to help spill responders perform efficient assessments and communicate their findings effectively. As of November 2007, includes new standardized oil slick appearance and structure nomenclature and code.
    (Document format: PDF, size: 4.6 M)
  • Dispersant Application Observer Job Aid A field guide for spill responders who have completed training in dispersant application observation. Updated in August 2007 with new photos and labels to show critical elements more effectively.
    (Document format: PDF, size: 2.1 M)
  • Oil Spill Dispersant Application and Monitoring Once oil has spilled, responders use a variety oil spill countermeasures to reduce the adverse effects of spilled oil on the environment. Dispersants are one kind of countermeasure.
    (Document format: PDF, size: 407.5 K)
  • SMART Fact Sheet Special Monitoring of Applied Response Technologies (SMART) is a cooperatively designed monitoring program for in situ burning and dispersants.
    (Document format: PDF, size: 365.0 K)

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