Oil pours into sea after rig disaster
Up to 1,000 barrels worth of oil is leaking daily into the Gulf of Mexico after a drilling rig caught fire and sank last week.
Oil is leaking out in two places at the site, said David Nicholas, a spokesman for BP, which is responsible for the clean-up.
"This is a very serious oil spill," US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry, who is overseeing the rescue and clean-up efforts, said yesterday.
The accident took place off the coast of Louisiana, where exploration was being carried out on the Macondo field.
The spill covers a 400-square-mile section of the Gulf, about 40 miles from the coast, Ms Landry said.
Thunderstorms, rain and rough seas are hampering efforts to clean up the spillage, according to a statement from the Coast Guard, BP and Transocean.
BP has a 65pc stake in the project, with partners Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Mitsui & Co owning the remainder.
The fire on the rig started on April 20 after an explosion that may have been caused by a so- called blowout, an unexpected surge in pressure that ejected petroleum at the top of the well. The rig sank two days later.
Eleven of the 126 workers on board are missing. A search for them has been suspended and their families have been notified, Ms Landry said.