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UPDATE 9: Deepwater Horizon response continues

ROBERT, La. - The response to the Deepwater Horizon incident continues as responders work to stop the flow of oil and minimize its environmental impact.

Efforts by BP and Transocean personnel to activate the blowout preventer using submersible remote operated vehicles began Sunday with the process expected to take 24 to 36 hours. Additionally, BP has mobilized two drilling rigs, one of which is expected on scene today, to prepare for relief well drilling operations. BP has filed permits with the Minerals Management Service for an engineering review and approval for drilling the relief well.

Sunday, an aircrew from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sighted five small whales during an over flight in the vicinity of the oil spill, which currently measures 48 miles by 39 miles at its widest points with varying levels of sheening, and is located 30 miles off the coast of Venice, La. The unified command is monitoring the situation and is working closely with officials from Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA to understand the impact the spill and response activities may have on whales and other marine wildlife in the area. The use of dispersants has been adjusted to avoid areas where whales have been spotted.

Following adverse weather that went through the area, response crews are anticipated to resume skimming operations today. Assets currently being used to respond to the incident include:

  • More than 1,000 personnel,
  • 14,654 gallons of dispersant have been used with another 119,734 gallons on stand by,
  • 21,340 feet of containment boom is place at the spill site,
  • 10 offshore response vessels,
  • 7 skimming boats,
  • 1,152 barrels/48,384 gallons of oily water have been collected.

The unified command has established a Web site where photos, press releases and fact sheets are available.

A toll free number has been established to report oiled or injured wildlife. To report affected wildlife call (866) 557-1401.The unified command urges people to not attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but to report any sightings to the toll free number.