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Oil Spill from Container Ship Rena Off Coast of New Zealand

37.6S 176.1E

October 17th, 2011 Category: Environmental Disasters

New Zealand - October 15th, 2011

Salvage teams are pumping oil from a stricken container ship off the New Zealand coast before bad weather arrives which could split the vessel in two and spew more oil onto beaches.

The Liberian-flagged Rena has been stuck for 12 days on a reef 14 miles (22km) off Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, having already spilled about 350 tonnes of toxic fuel and some of its hundreds of containers into the sea.

The image shows the container ship Rena off the coast of North Island. The information present in the image (see full version) regarding the ship is generated automatically by SRRS’ ship-detection post processing module.

The circle indicates the area in which the oil has spread. In the full image, some black stains can be observed near the shoreline. Oil has washed up along about 37 miles of the coast, which is popular with surfers and fishermen. Nearly 1,300 birds have died in the spill, which is seen as New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster in decades.

The Guardian has reported that salvage teams are running out of time in their efforts to pump oil from the stricken Rena container ship before it breaks up or bad weather halts the operation. Today they were adding extra pumps to speed up the recovery of the oil from the 236m (775ft) vessel through holes in the side to a barge. More than 70 tonnes have been recovered, but there are fears that bad weather will halt the operation and possibly send the stern section, which contains more than 1,000 tonnes of oil, tumbling into 60 metres of water.

New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, USA – October 30th, 2010 – Eosnap Celebrates its 3000th Post!

29.1N 89.4W

October 30th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day, Rivers, Sediments

USA - October 14th, 2010

New Orleans - October 21st, 2010

Oil by Mississippi River Delta - May 5th, 2010

Eosnap celebrates its 3000th post with an update on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and a look at New Orleans, the Mississippi River Delta and southern Louisiana, USA.

The main image shows the Mississippi River Valley about two weeks ago, golden tan in color, and the river itself meandering down towards the Gulf of Mexico. Brown and tan sediments pour out of the delta area and into the gulf to the south of New Orleans, visible as a grey area. The city and its surroundings are best observed in the color close-up image.

The black and white radar images, on the other hand, offer a look back at the spread of the oil slick during the first month and a half of the oil spill. These wide-swath ASAR images make it possible to observe a wide area in great detail, and allow the oil to be seen much more clearly than in color images.

Spread of Oil - May 18th, 2010

Oil Slick - May 15th, 2010

A little more than six months after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform caught fire and ultimately sank, signs of that accident continue to appear along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana fishermen found “massive stretches” of oil floating toward marshes in the Mississippi Delta last week, reported Discovery News.

It is hardly the only observation of surface, or near-surface, oil since the Obama administration gleefully declared in August that 75 percent of the Deepwater Horizon spill had been magically cleaned up. Still unresolved is perhaps the most contentious issue of all: Where did all the oil go? Even allowing for the skimming and burning of much of the surface oil, the bulk of what entered the Gulf as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster should still be somewhere beneath the waves.

A team of researchers found evidence of oil in the water column far beneath the surface, approximately 300 miles (500 km) from the site of the accident, by analysing the water for low oxygen levels — a sign that oil-consuming bacteria were in the area. Interestingly, however, the scientists didn’t find quite as strong a low-oxygen signal as they anticipated. This doesn’t mean that the oil isn’t there, but rather that bacteria aren’t consuming as much of it as they might have predicted. It could be that some of those undersea plumes have, as time has passed, become more diffuse and thus harder to detect.

Southern Louisiana - June 3rd, 2010

New Orleans and Delta Area - May 31st, 2010

Hurricane Alex (01L) South of Oil Spill – July 2nd, 2010

23.7N 94W

July 2nd, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Hurricane Alex (01L) - June 26th, 2010

Hurricane Alex (01L) - June 26th, 2010

Alex - Enhanced image

Alex - Enhanced image

Alex South of Oil Spill

Alex South of Oil Spill

Close-up of Oil Spill

Close-up of Oil Spill

The main image shows Alex (01L) on June 26th, when it was starting to become better organized and increase to hurricane strength over the Caribbean Sea. At that time, the system was reported to have winds of 65 mph (100 km/h).

One detail image shows the system in the lower reaches of the Gulf of Mexico, where it was feared that it would cause greater environmental damage by passing through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill area, best observed in the close-up. Fortunately, the system has stayed relatively clear of the site, although its approach did cause BP to delay plans to increase oil capture from the leak by a week. Tarballs from the spill as large as apples washed onshore around Grand Isle, as well as other parts of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, from high storm tides created by the hurricane.

The system has now made landfall over Mexico and is weakening. Its remnants, visible in the animated imagery, are moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/hr), with maximum sustained winds near 30 mph (45 km/hr), with higher gusts. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb (29.53 inches).

Track of Hurricane 01L - July 1st, 2010 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of Hurricane 01L

The remnants of Alex are expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches across portions of northern and central Mexico. Isolated storm-total amounts of 20 inches are possible over the higher elevations of northeastern Mexico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in mountainous terrain.

The remnants of Alex are also expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches over portions of southern Texas, with isolated maximum storm-total amounts of around 12 inches. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods.

Oil Spill Continues to Spread in Gulf Mexico

29.3N 89.2W

May 31st, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 28th, 2010

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 28th, 2010

Anger and despair intensified across the Gulf Coast on Sunday as BP — after the failure of the “top kill” — planned to attempt yet another short-term fix to contain the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and fouling Louisiana wetlands, one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.

Sunday afternoon, the White House press office announced that the latest plan — to cut off the broken riser pipe at the top of the well and to cap the new opening — could temporarily increase the oil flow by 20 percent. The belief that the increase will be temporary hinges on BP successfully attaching the cap to the top of the well’s failed blowout preventer.

The White House’s statement paints a picture that is slightly worse than what BP Managing Director Robert Dudley described on the morning talk shows. Dudley said that his company has been very careful not to do anything that would make the situation worse.

“There may be a small increase,” Dudley told CNN. “But we should not expect to see a large increase, if any, by cutting this off and making a clean surface for us to be able to put a containment vessel over it.”

To many, news of another attempted solution only reinforced the sentiment that BP has no plan to deal quickly with the out-of-control well, while the long-term solution of drilling relief wells continues.

So far, the company unsuccessfully has tried to seal the broken blowout preventer, put a containment box over a different leak and built a smaller containment device called a top hat, but decided not to use it. Last week BP tried sealing the well with drilling mud, a move known as a top kill; sealing it with a shot of junk rubber, dubbed a junk shot; and combining the two by sealing it with drilling mud and pieces of junk rubber.

Fluctuations in Size and Location of Oil Slick, Gulf of Mexico – May 26th, 2010

28.8N 88.7W

May 26th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 21st - 24th, 2010

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 21st - 24th, 2010

Over a month after the spill began, oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico. The exact spill flow rate is uncertain –in part because BP has refused to allow independent scientists to perform accurate measurements– and is a matter of ongoing debate.

It is estimated that the resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2), although the exact size and location of the slick fluctuate from day to day depending on weather conditions. This animated image shows the fluctuations of the slick between May 21st and 24th.

As this environmental disaster continues, more than 22,000 people and 1,100 vessels are now involved in the onshore and offshore exercise to control the slick that is affecting approximately 65 miles of the Gulf coast.

It was reported this week that BP is recovering 40pc less oil than previously claimed as it prepares fourth attempt to halt leak. The oil giant admitted it was recovering less oil from a tube inserted into the mile-long pipeline that snapped after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded with the loss of 11 lives a month ago.

BP initially said that most of the estimated 5,000 barrels a day spewing out of the well was being collected and taken a mile to the surface but yesterday the company disclosed that the average daily recovery is running at just over 2,000 barrels.

BP conceded that the siphoning system involved “significant uncertainties” because of its novelty and said that it was impossible to “assure its success or put a definite timescale on its deployment”.

The use of a special tube to collect the oil is the third technique used by BP to control the flow after the failure to reactivate the blow out preventer and erect domes over the damaged seabed installations.

Now BP is pinning its hopes on operation “top kill” involving the injection of heavy drilling fluids to stop the flow and sealing the well with cement to end the nightmare. Engineers hope to start work on Wednesday while work continues on the slower process of drilling two relief wells.