Divers rush to locate source of reported oil spill in Gulf after Hurricane Ida

Clean up crews are rushing to try to locate the source of a suspected oil spill spotted in the Bay Marchard area of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc in the region last week, the US Coast Guard said on Saturday.

The spill, which continues, appears to be coming from a source underwater at an offshore drilling lease about 2 miles (3km) south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The reported location is near the site of a miles-long brown and black oil slick visible in aerial photos first published Wednesday by the Associated Press.

Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the US Gulf coast, made landfall last Sunday in Louisiana, destroying entire communities.

So far, the growing spill appears to have remained out to sea and has not impacted the Louisiana shoreline. There is not yet any estimate for how much oil was in the water, but recent satellite images reviewed by AP on Saturday appeared to show the slick drifting more than a dozen miles eastward along the Gulf coast.

A US Coast Guard spokesman said Talos Energy, which appears to own the undersea pipeline that the crude oil may be spilling from, had hired Clean Gulf Associates to respond to the suspected spill and contracted a private dive team to locate the source of the slick.

Members of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit’s prevention department and the Gulf Strike Team were currently monitoring reports and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite imagery to determine the scope of the spill, the spokesman said.

Once the source had been identified, the Coast Guard and partnering agencies would work on a recovery and source control plan, he added.

He said Clean Gulf Associates has put skimmers and a containment boom in the area to mitigate any further environmental impact.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report

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