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FOSC issues Notice of Federal Interest to BP and Transocean

NEW ORLEANS — The Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in New Orleans issued a Notice of Federal Interest to BP and Transocean Tuesday.

Coast Guard Capt. Duke Walker issued the NOFI following sample results from an oil sheen located in the vicinity of where the Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded and sank more than two years ago.

The sheen was first reported to the National Response Center Sept. 16 by BP based on satellite images from the 9th and 14th overpasses in the Mississippi Canyon, block 252, approximately 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The sheen is not feasible to recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline.

The Coast Guard, in concert with BP and NOAA, has conducted regular assessments of the sheen by aircraft and boat since its discovery. The observed sheen size has varied over time depending upon the conditions present. Samples of the sheen were taken by Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City Sept. 26 and sent to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab in New London, Conn. The Marine Safety Laboratory results indicate the sheen correlates to oil that originated from BP’s Macondo Well. The exact source of the sheen is uncertain at this time but could be residual oil associated with wreckage and/or debris left on the seabed from the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.

The NOFI effectively informs BP and Transocean that the Coast Guard matched the sheen samples to the Deepwater Horizon spill or sunken drilling debris and that either party or both may be held accountable for any cost associated with further assessments or operations related to this sheen.

The Gulf Coast Incident Management Team remains committed to the continued cleanup of the Gulf Coast and all shorelines affected as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The FOSC is determined to continue response activities to remove all oil where it is technologically feasible, environmentally beneficial and safe for workers to perform recovery operations.

The public is reminded to contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to report all pollution incidents or the Coast Guard 8th District command center at 504-589-6225 in the event of any marine emergencies.