7 May 2010

BP sends giant box to contain oil spill

12:04 pm on 7 May 2010

The United States coast guards who are working to contain a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico say oil sheen has started washing ashore on an island off the coast of Louisiana.

Oil is gushing into the sea at a rate of about 800,000 litres a day from a rig that exploded and sank, killing 11 workers.

Birds covered in oil have been found on the Chandeleur Islands, the first land area to be hit by the growing slick.

A ship carrying a giant metal containment box has arrived at the site. Remote-controlled submarines will now be used to lower the 90-tonne device over the leak.

The operation to fix the massive funnel in place is expected to take two days, and a further two days will be required to connect it to a ship above via a drill-pipe, the BBC reports.

If the operation is successful, BP hopes to begin pumping oil to the surface early next week.