NOAA reports: “The situation remains highly dynamic with severe storms and high seas hampering response efforts. Winds have been 20-30 knots gusting higher, seas 7 1/2 feet, with a tornado watch for coastal waters. The Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), or rig, has been located on the seafloor approximately 1300’ northwest of the well. The riser has also been located and traced by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Two leaks have been identified, preliminary estimates are that the well is leaking 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons) a day at a depth of 5000’. The estimates will be revised pending information from ROVs monitoring the seafloor and surface and overflight observations as weather conditions allow. A flotilla of response vessels and personnel are on-scene. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for 11 missing crewmembers on Friday, April 23. NOAA extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the missing.
On April 24, aircraft observations indicated a 20-by-20-mile area of rainbow sheen and emulsified crude oil. All available response assets are either mobilized to clean up existing oil or on standby in the event that the release worsens. Planning teams are considering potential response strategies to control the well and address the floating oil. These include application of dispersants, drilling of relief wells, shoreline protection and assessment, cleanup plans, and working with state and local governments.
The latest NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses do not indicate oil reaching shore over the next 3 days; this assumes that the rate of oil release is steady and weather remains as forecast.