ECOGIG mounts rapid response after Shell Oil spill

ECOGIG mounts rapid response after Shell Oil spill
GC248 from the air on May 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Bonny Shumaker/On Wings of Care

May 16, 2016

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to a crude oil spill reportedly discharged from a Shell subsea well-head flow line, approximately 90 miles south of Timbalier Island, Louisiana, on Thursday May 12, 2016.

ECOGIG scientists organized a rapid response research cruise to assess the impact of the spill on the biological communities in the Gulf’s water column.

The cruise aboard the R/V Tommy Munro left Monday night from the port of Biloxi, MS. The scientific party includes ECOGIG scientists from UGA, Georgia Tech, Florida State University, and the University of Southern Mississippi.

“The ECOGIG consortium has gone to great lengths to assure we are ready to mobilize in short order, should the need arise. When we learned of this oil spill, we secured a ship and arranged a science party within 48 hours. Our goal for this response mission is to document the distribution of oil in the water column, to characterize the hydrocarbons, and to assess the fate of oil, including biological oxidation, assimilation and movement into the food web, and formation of marine oil snow. These efforts will help inform other responders and will further advance our understanding of oil spill impacts on the Gulf ecosystem,” said Joye

The Coast Guard said an estimated 88,200 gallons was reportedly released from the pipeline and that the source of the discharge has been reported as secured.

Initial reports indicated a two- to thirteen-mile sheen in an area 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, LA. Shell Offshore Inc., reported that the sheen was observed in the area of its Glider Field, a group of four subsea wells located in Green Canyon Block 248. The production from these four wells flows through a subsea manifold to Shell’s Brutus platform located in 2,900 feet of water.

Video from May 15, 2016 by Bonny Shumaker/On Wings of Care

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