Over the weekend BP engineers were able to shove a smaller diameter pipe into the larger pipe that's leaking on the bottom of the Gulf. This smaller diameter pipe is only an interim solution, although it will allow workers topside to funnel oil into the cargo hold of a ship. How much is it helping? Well, the insertion pipe is 4"in diameter and the riser pipe is 21" in diameter.
Meanwhile, some scientists are alarmed about what they claim are plumes of oil beneath the surface. They report one plume is 30 miles long.
I've reported here that scientists at SkyTruth have been claiming much higher numbers since April 27th.
On Thursday night, National Public Radio reported claims by scientists aboard the R/V Pelican that the Deepwater Horizon spill was 14 times worse than officially reported, releasing 70,000 barrels per day and putting it in the running for the worst oil spill in history.
Dr. Vernon Aster, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi told NPR:
"We can't tell you what they look like because we haven't yet gotten a camera down there. That's one of our next immediate objectives, to see how big the particles are, what color they are and all of that. What I can tell you is what we know about their size and their extent. It looks like they are, at the most, four or five miles wide, and they are roughly 10 or 15 miles long."
Aster added, "The difference between these plumes at depth and the oil at the surface is the oil at the surface is pretty much two-dimensional. It has a length and a width, no depth, because it's floating right on the surface. These plumes at depth have a thickness, and many of them are more than 100 meters thick
Another quote, this one reported by WSWS.ORG . . . a Marxist Webzine so take it with a grain of salt, comes from Richard Steiner, a former professor of marine conservation at the University of Alaska:
“I don’t know if the government is willfully misleading the people, or they just don’t know what they’re doing. But I suspect the former; they’re trying to cover up for the inadequate response of the federal government, just like BP has been trying to cover up its own negligence.”
The R/V Pelican is currently on a mission for the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST). The vessel was built in 1985 and is 116' long.