The deepwater disaster

The deepwater disaster

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The accident on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the ocean in three months - the world's worst ever offshore oil spill.

In the wake of the disaster, these beach goers sunbathed behind a wall of hay bales, used to absorb any oil that might come ashore in Dauphin Island, Alabama.

. Gulf of Mexico, United States. Reuters/Lee Celano

Oil is burned off the surface of the water near the source of the spill. Disaster struck at 9:53 p.m. CDT on April 20, 2010, when a surge of methane gas known to rig hands as a "kick" sparked an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 men. The vessel sank two days later.

Audio by Ed Markey, Democratic US Representative, 15 JUN 2010.

. Gulf of Mexico, United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Oil floats on the surface around a work boat. Louisiana bore the brunt of the damage - about 650 miles (1,050 km) of its coastline were oiled, versus 174 miles (280 km) in Florida, 159 miles (255 km) in Mississippi and 90 miles (144 km) in Alabama.

. EAST GRAND TERRE ISLAND, United States. REUTERS/Lee Celano

An oil worker's hard hat lies in oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

. Fort Jackson, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Oil-covered pelicans sit in a pen waiting to be cleaned at a rescue centre facility set up by the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

. Freemason Island, LA., United States. Reuters/Carlos Barria

A man holds a plastic bag with oil south of Freemason Island.

. Port Fourchon, LA., United States. Reuters/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama surveys damage along the Louisiana coastline. "It's an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy, and on communities like this one. This isn't just a mess that we've got to mop up. People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach," Obama said.

. Washington, United States. Reuters/Larry Downing

A protester disrupts BP CEO Tony Hayward's opening statement before being arrested during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. London-based BP was the majority owner and operator of the Macondo well and Swiss-based Transocean Ltd owned the rig, which was drilling the mile-deep (1.6 km) well.

. Washington, United States. Reuters/Larry Downing

BP CEO Tony Hayward testifies about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Timeline

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Explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon licensed to BP; 11 workers are killed. The rig was drilling in BP's Macondo project 42 miles (68 km) southeast of Venice, Louisiana, beneath about 5,000 feet (1,525 metres) of water and 13,000 feet (4 km) under the seabed.

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana.
. Gulf of Mexico, United States. Reuters/U.S. Coast Guard

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana.

The Deepwater Horizon rig, valued at more than $560 million, sinks and a five mile long (8 km) oil slick is seen.

U.S. President Barack Obama surveys damage along the Louisiana coastline at Fourchon Beach.
. Port Fourchon, LA., United States. Reuters/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama surveys damage along the Louisiana coastline at Fourchon Beach.

The Coast Guard says the flow of oil is 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) (210,000 gallons/795,000 litres) - five times greater than first estimated. A controlled burn is held on the giant oil slick.

A television reporter stands beside oil booms on the coast of South Pass, south of Venice, Louisiana.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Carlos Barria

A television reporter stands beside oil booms on the coast of South Pass, south of Venice, Louisiana.

Welders work on the top of a portion of the BP subsea oil recovery system chamber at Wild Well Control, Inc.
. Port Fourchon, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Welders work on the top of a portion of the BP subsea oil recovery system chamber at Wild Well Control, Inc.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward makes his way through reporters as he leaves the Interior Department in Washington.
. Washington, United States. Reuters/Yuri Gripas

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward makes his way through reporters as he leaves the Interior Department in Washington.

Shrimp boats docked at a marina.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Carlos Barria

Shrimp boats docked at a marina.

A family feeds seagulls before an oil spill is expected to hit the beaches within days.
. Gulfport, MS., United States. Reuters/Rick Wilking

A family feeds seagulls before an oil spill is expected to hit the beaches within days.

Aerial views over the Gulf of Mexico show workers aboard ships taking measures to contain a growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico as winds keep the oil slick from reaching U.S. shores. A barge begins towing a 98-ton containment chamber to the site of the leak. BP says one of the three leaks has been shut off by capping a valve, but that will not cut the amount of oil gushing out.

Workers remove oil booms from the beach after reaching the coast of South Pass as oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead continues to spread.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Carlos Barria

Workers remove oil booms from the beach after reaching the coast of South Pass as oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead continues to spread.

Oil washes ashore on the Chandeleur Islands off the Louisiana coast, uninhabited barrier islands that are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. In an effort to contain the leak from the gushing oil well nearly one mile below water, BP Plc engineers lower a metal chamber into the Gulf of Mexico, but the technique has never been attempted at that depth.

Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
. Gulf of Mexico, United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. military planes spray dispersant chemicals in an attempt to combat a growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Army National Guard troops work to build a barrier of giant sandbags against the oil spill offshore.
. Port Fourchon, LA., United States. Reuters/Rick Wilking

U.S. Army National Guard troops work to build a barrier of giant sandbags against the oil spill offshore.

Risers, the outer casings of oil drill pipes, are seen on the deck of the service vessel Joe Griffin as it prepares to head to Port Fouchon at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
. Gulf of Mexico, United States. Reuters/Gerald Herbert

Risers, the outer casings of oil drill pipes, are seen on the deck of the service vessel Joe Griffin as it prepares to head to Port Fouchon at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Activists from the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition hold a rally to demand the seizure of BP's assets to provide comprehensive compensation for all people affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
. Washington, United States. Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Activists from the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition hold a rally to demand the seizure of BP's assets to provide comprehensive compensation for all people affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Louisiana anglers scramble to get in last minute fishing trips as the Gulf Coast oil spill threatens to pollute their favorite spots. U.S. President Barack Obama - after meeting with top advisers about the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico - says he's angry and frustrated about the spill. Obama slams companies involved in the spill, criticizing them for a "ridiculous spectacle" of publicly trading blame over the accident in his sternest comments yet.

Veterinarians working for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services bathe a brown pelican at Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
. Buras, LA., United States. Reuters/Hans Deryk

Veterinarians working for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services bathe a brown pelican at Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

BP succeeds in inserting a tube into the leaking riser pile of the well and capturing some oil and gas.

Lenny Kravitz performs during the Gulf Aid benefit concert at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. The concert will benefit supporting wetlands/coastal environmental issues & the well-being of fishermen, and the regional seafood industry.
. New Orleans, United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Lenny Kravitz performs during the Gulf Aid benefit concert at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. The concert will benefit supporting wetlands/coastal environmental issues & the well-being of fishermen, and the regional seafood industry.

Boat captain Randy Cognevich watches as his deckhand David Merrick does an impromptu flip into the water after returning from a two-day shrimp haul at Joshua's Marina.
. Buras, LA., United States. Reuters/Hans Deryk

Boat captain Randy Cognevich watches as his deckhand David Merrick does an impromptu flip into the water after returning from a two-day shrimp haul at Joshua's Marina.

An underwater video released by BP shows the source of the leak that is causing massive amounts of oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. nearly doubles a no-fishing zone in waters affected by the oil, extending it to 19 percent of U.S. waters in the Gulf.

A dead garfish lies in a marsh. For nearly a month, roughly 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) of oil per day have been gushing from BP's broken Deepwater oil well.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Lee Celano

A dead garfish lies in a marsh. For nearly a month, roughly 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) of oil per day have been gushing from BP's broken Deepwater oil well.

Bridget Hargrove of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, her four-year-old son Ayden and one-year-old daughter, Emma, wade in a baby pool away from the oil contaminated Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle beach.
. Grand Isle, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Bridget Hargrove of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, her four-year-old son Ayden and one-year-old daughter, Emma, wade in a baby pool away from the oil contaminated Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle beach.

While crews employed by British oil giant BP attempted to clean the oil-tarred shoreline in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, the chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward, walked the beach himself - to personally inspect the damage.

Oil floats on the surface in Pass A Loutre near Venice, Louisiana.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Oil floats on the surface in Pass A Loutre near Venice, Louisiana.

A member of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries holds an oil covered Green Heron found in Pass A Loutre.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

A member of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries holds an oil covered Green Heron found in Pass A Loutre.

A roadside sign expresses resentment towards BP and U.S. President Barack Obama.
. Grand Isle, LA., United States. Reuters/Lee Celano

A roadside sign expresses resentment towards BP and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Darryl Young of New Orleans does a Second Line while blessing the clean up workers and soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard as they work on the Tiger Dam to protect the Grand Isle from encroaching oil coming in with the high tide.
. Grand Isle, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Darryl Young of New Orleans does a Second Line while blessing the clean up workers and soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard as they work on the Tiger Dam to protect the Grand Isle from encroaching oil coming in with the high tide.

A memorial in front of Patrick Shay's fish camp, built by his neighbors and him "In Memory of all that is lost courtesy of BP and our Federal Government".
. Grand Isle, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

A memorial in front of Patrick Shay's fish camp, built by his neighbors and him "In Memory of all that is lost courtesy of BP and our Federal Government".

After previous sharp declines, BP shares rise more than 3 percent on market hopes that the latest plan to control the leaking well may make some progress. The six-week-old crisis has wiped a third off BP's market value since it began. BP's Hayward says milestone achieved.

Environmental Defense Fund coastal scientist Angelina Freeman takes a sample of oil while surveying the conditions of Bartaria Bay near Venice, Louisiana.
. Venice, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Environmental Defense Fund coastal scientist Angelina Freeman takes a sample of oil while surveying the conditions of Bartaria Bay near Venice, Louisiana.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (left) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (right) appear with widows Courtney Kemp (2nd left) and Shelley Anderson (2nd right) at a news conference with other widows and family members of the eleven men killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.
. Washington, United States. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (left) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (right) appear with widows Courtney Kemp (2nd left) and Shelley Anderson (2nd right) at a news conference with other widows and family members of the eleven men killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.

U.S. lawmakers blast major oil companies for 'boilerplate' plans to handle a deepwater oil disaster as top industry executives testified on BP's massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. oil company executives before they testify on the BP oil spill during a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill. At bottom left are James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil, and Lamar McKay, president and chariman of BP America (left to right).
. Washington, United States. Reuters/Larry Downing

U.S. oil company executives before they testify on the BP oil spill during a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill. At bottom left are James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil, and Lamar McKay, president and chariman of BP America (left to right).

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg (right), CEO Tony Hayward (left), Managing Director Bob Dudley (2nd left) and BP America Inc. Chairman Lamar McKay speak to the media after their meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House.
. Washington, United States. Reuters/Jim Young

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg (right), CEO Tony Hayward (left), Managing Director Bob Dudley (2nd left) and BP America Inc. Chairman Lamar McKay speak to the media after their meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House.

Work crews use booms and vacuums to clean marshland near Bay Jimmy, in the Barataria Bay of Louisiana.
. Barataria Bay, LA., United States. Reuters/Lee Celano

Work crews use booms and vacuums to clean marshland near Bay Jimmy, in the Barataria Bay of Louisiana.

Softshell crabs lay on ice for sale at JMS Seafood, a fish wholesaler in the New Fulton Fish Market. Many dealers at the market, the largest wholesale fish market in the U.S., saw a drop in sales since the oil spill, JMS said.
. New York, United States. Reuters/Mike Segar

Softshell crabs lay on ice for sale at JMS Seafood, a fish wholesaler in the New Fulton Fish Market. Many dealers at the market, the largest wholesale fish market in the U.S., saw a drop in sales since the oil spill, JMS said.

Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund, delivers testimony before the U.S. House Small Business Committee on Capitol Hill.
. Washington, United States. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund, delivers testimony before the U.S. House Small Business Committee on Capitol Hill.

A Northern Gannet seabird is cleaned by rehabilitators at a rescue center facility set up by the International Bird Rescue Research Center.
. Fort Jackson, LA, United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

A Northern Gannet seabird is cleaned by rehabilitators at a rescue center facility set up by the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Brian Foret, an employee of Trussco, stands on oiled rocks along the beach front.
. Port Fourchon, LA., United States. Reuters/Sean Gardner

Brian Foret, an employee of Trussco, stands on oiled rocks along the beach front.

U.S. First lady Michelle Obama flashes two thumbs-up to the crowd, as she is introduced by Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst. Obama visited the area to show support for the people and businesses impacted.
. Panama City Beach, FL., United States. Reuters/Colin Hackley

U.S. First lady Michelle Obama flashes two thumbs-up to the crowd, as she is introduced by Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst. Obama visited the area to show support for the people and businesses impacted.

An environmental activist from Greenpeace, with his body covered in fake oil, takes part in a protest outside the European Commission headquarters.
. Brussels, Belgium. Reuters/Yves Herman

An environmental activist from Greenpeace, with his body covered in fake oil, takes part in a protest outside the European Commission headquarters.

For the first time in 87 days, images from the BP oil camera shows no oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico.