2011 Dec 30 Friday
Gulf of Mexico


Late today we flew out over the Gulf to do some recon and give current coordinates to a boat crew headed out to collect some surface oil samples tomorrow. Too late to make it to the Macondo area, we focused on a site of chronic oil leakage near aTaylor Energy platform destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, about 12 miles south of the Louisiana Delta.  We quickly found a long line of surface oil, about 0.5-nm wide and 7 to 8 nm west-to-east.  The west end is marked by a small orange float and a larger white buoy with an ominous-looking cross on top.  Near the east end of the slick, where it widens some, there is a platform labeled "NKOR Energy."  Enroute there and back we saw two marsh fires and some very dirty beaches, but we also enjoyed the sights of the wetlands, more white pelicans, and a memorable sunset.

All of this and more is documented in our flight log provided below and in the photos and videos below.  The NRC incident report we filed for the oil is also appended at the bottom of this article; the NRC incident number is #999320. And as always, you may download our entire GPS flight tracks and see our position every ten seconds along the route; see today's flight under the main menu item Flight Tracks on this site.
NOTE:  Unless noted, no photos or video provided by On Wings Of Care are "photoshopped" or otherwise altered in any way that could degrade accurate interpretation of what we observed.  

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The flight was just a little over two hours, as we departed late in the day and the low light angle did not permit good observing after about 4pm. Photos and videos are below, with flight log and the full text of the NRC following those.

 

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OWOC Gulf Flight Log 20111230 Friday
(Recon flight to the Taylor Energy site for sampling boats going out tomorrow or Sunday)
2.3 hrs, KNEW -Taylor - KNEW.

Numbers 0141-0149 below refer to our GPS waypoint numbers, described below in the order observed. Lat/lons are given in degrees and decimal minutes - hddd°mm.mmm' and [decimal degrees - hddd.ddddd° ]. Distances in nautical miles (nm) or meters (m).

ONE NRC report phoned in immediately upon landing back at KNEW. Surface oil line extended from 0143 northeast past 144; suggest 0148 for boat sampling this weekend.) NRC #999320. (The complete NRC report is appended below this flight log.) 

(No waypoint marked) 1559 CST.  A marsh fire just north of the tip of the Delta (Photo #4087), and large numbers of beautiful white pelicans!.  (Photo #4089)

(No waypoint marked) 1626 CST.  A beautiful photo looking back toward the last of the land masses as we continued southward (photo #4119).

0141 - 2209Z = 1609 CST, N29 25.803 W89 31.241 [N29.43005 W89.52068]
Thin oil line, ~ 10 m wide, running SW to NE. Dark gray, no rainbow.  (Video)

0142 - 2231Z = 1631 CST, N28 59.638 W89 08.939 [N28.99396 W89.14898]
Dirty beach, here at the last point of land on the delta. (still 3.8 nm at 300° from target waypoint 136 = N28 57.210 W89 04.921). (Photos #4123, 4124)

0143 - 2236Z = 1636 CST, N28 56.065 W88 58.636 [N28.93442 W88.97727]
Start of a long line of oil, marked by small orange float and white buoy with a cross (?) on top.
Line extends eastward about 7 nm, is about 0.5-nm wide, wider toward the east. Weathered (reddish-brown) oil contained in it toward the east (near waypoint #0144). (Photos #4132 and video)

0144 - 2239X - 1639 CST, N28 58.376 W88 52.882 [N28.97294 W88.88137]
Oil line continues another 1 nm east from here. Weathered oil showing here also (reddish brown lines). (Video and Photos #4144, 4145.)

0145 - 2242Z = 1642 CST, N28 55.984 W88 54.724 [N28.93307 W88.91207]
Platform, says "NKOR Energy-MC21-BC". Eastern portion of the oil line is north of this platform less than a half-mile. (Photo #4136) 

0146 - 2255Z = 1655 CST, N28 52.559 W89 04.812 [N28.87599 W89.08021]
Platform = "ENERGY S.P.-BLK-49-A" (Photo #4159)

0147 - 2256Z = 1656 CST, N28 53.329 W89 03.656 [N28.88882 W89.06094]
Platform = ? (no visible name, old, no photo but is in the video)

0148 - 2302 = 1702 CST, N28 57.160 W88 54.792 [N28.95267 W88.91320]
Suggest that the boat sample here; a wider area, harder to miss in a boat.

(No waypoint) 1710 CST.  Lovely sunset.  (Photo #4163)

0149 - 2335Z = 1735 CST, N29 38.968 W89 37.789 [N29.64947 W89.62982]
A small marsh fire here (actually about 0.5 nm east of here). (Photo did not turn out.)

 

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Here is the full NRC report submitted after we landed this evening:

*** CONFIRMATION OF REPORT RECEIVED AND PROCESSED BY THE ***
***       NATIONAL RESPONSE CENTER 1-800-424-8802        ***

Your input below has been reviewed and
processed by the NRC and assigned to
Incident Report # 999320

INCIDENT DESCRIPTION

*Report taken  at 20:06 on 30-DEC-11
Incident Type: UNKNOWN SHEEN
Incident Cause: UNKNOWN
Affected Area: GULF OF MEXICO
Incident was discovered on 30-DEC-11 at 17:00 local incident time.
Affected Medium: WATER   GULF OF MEXICO
_______________________________________________________________________
SUSPECTED RESPONSIBLE PARTY

Organization:  TAYLOR ENERGY
LA

________________________________________________________________________
INCIDENT LOCATION
WEST END: N28.93442° W88.97727°    County: SOUTH PASS
EAST END: N28.97294° W88.88137°
ABOUT 0.5-NM WIDE (APPROX N-S)
State: LA
NEAR THE TAYLOR ENERGY SITE, A CHRONIC OIL LEAK, ABOUT 12 MILES S
OF THE DELTA
_______________________________________________________________________
RELEASED MATERIAL(S)
CHRIS Code: OUN    Official Material Name: UNKNOWN OIL
Also Known As:
Qty Released: 0 UNKNOWN AMOUNT           Qty in Water: 0 UNKNOWN AMOUNT
________________________________________________________________________
DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT
SURFACE OIL SLICK NOTED DURING AN AERIAL FLIGHT.  FORMS A 7-NM-LONG
LINE WEST-EAST, ABOUT 0.5-NM WIDE, METALLIC GRAY AND RAINBOW SURFACE
SHEEN.  MARKED ON THE WEST END BY A SMALL ORANGE FLOAT AND A LARGER
WHITE BUOY WITH A CROSS ON ITS TOP.  THERE IS WEATHERED (REDDISH-
BROWN AND THICK) OIL ALONG THE LINE.

________________________________________________________________________
INCIDENT DETAILS
Platform Rig Name:
Platform Letter:
Location Area ID: SOUTH PASS
Location Block ID:
OCSG Number:
OCSP Number:
State Lease Number:
Pier Dock Number:
Berth Slip Number:
---SHEEN INFORMATION---
Sheen Color: RAINBOW
Sheen Odor Description:
Sheen Travel Direction: E
Sheen Size Length: 7  MILES
Sheen Size Width: 0.5  MILES
---WATER INFORMATION---
Body of Water: GULF OF MEXICO
Tributary of:
Nearest River Mile Marker:
Water Supply Contaminated: UNKNOWN

______________________________________________________________________
IMPACT
Fire Involved: NO   Fire Extinguished: UNKNOWN

INJURIES:   NO   Hospitalized:       Empl/Crew:       Passenger:
FATALITIES: NO   Empl/Crew:          Passenger:        Occupant:
EVACUATIONS:NO   Who Evacuated:           Radius/Area:

Damages:    NO
Hours   Direction of
Closure Type Description of Closure           Closed   Closure
N
Air:
N                                                    Major
Road:                                                          Artery:N
N
Waterway:
N
Track:

Environmental Impact: UNKNOWN
Media Interest: NONE  Community Impact due to Material:
______________________________________________________________________
REMEDIAL ACTIONS
UNKNOWN
Release Secured: UNKNOWN
Release Rate:
Estimated Release Duration:

______________________________________________________________________
WEATHER
Weather: CLEAR, 55ºF    Wind speed: 15  KNTS    Wind direction: SW
______________________________________________________________________
ADDITIONAL AGENCIES NOTIFIED
Federal:     NONE
State/Local: NONE
State/Local On Scene: NONE
State Agency Number:  NONE
_______________________________________________________________________
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
NONE
______________________________________________________________________
Report any problems by calling 1-800-424-8802
PLEASE VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT http://www.nrc.uscg.mil

 

Copyright© 2011 (On Wings Of Care, Inc., Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.) All Rights Reserved.