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Coast Guard approves plan to secure containment dome

NEW ORLEANS - The Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in New Orleans authorized BP to proceed with a plan to cap and plug the containment dome.

In 2010, the 40-foot-tall containment dome was used as a part of an attempt to capture oil and allow it to flow through a pipe to a barge on the surface. The technique was unsuccessful and the equipment was moved away from the well head and riser and set in its current position approximately 500 meters from the original Macando well head.

The operation, which began Tuesday, included BP mobilizing a remotely operated vehicle from the offshore construction vessel Skandi Neptune to the containment dome to place a cap on top of the stove pipe and plug the ROV connection ports on the sides and top of the structure. The cap and plugs were successfully put in place and no further oil emissions from the containment dome were observed.

BP has collected data via satellite throughout the operation and will continue to do so for a five-day period following, in order to detect changes in the surface sheen and to evaluate the effectiveness of these actions in abating or eliminating the sheen. In addition, the Coast Guard plans an overflight of the area later in the week.

Representatives from the Coast Guard, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and Gulf Coast Incident Management Team's Department of Interior Liaison, as well as state on-scene coordinators from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida observed the controlled feed in New Orleans.

The FOSC has further directed BP to submit a feasibility plan that considers the next steps toward either removing or remediating the threats of oil posed by the riser pipe and containment dome.

The operation and proposed plan were in response to an oil sheen in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon incident first reported to the National Response Center Sept. 16. The Coast Guard issued a Notice of Federal Interest to BP and Transocean after the reported sheen was correlated to the oil that originated from BP's Macondo well.

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