Small (But Common?) Oil Leak in East Bay off Mississippi Delta

We’ve been seeing a steady stream of National Response Center (NRC) oil spill reports lately through the SkyTruth Alerts system, clustered in East Bay off the Mississippi Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. There’s a bunch of oil platforms out there, mostly small and unmanned (you can see a few of them in detail on Google Maps).  The NRC reports typically describe one-time leaks and spills of very small amounts of oil, but the frequency of reports  in that same vicinity over the past two months definitely caught our eye.  Even NOAA got involved, investigating a report of a leak from a wellhead (a small unmanned platform servicing a single well).

SkyTruth Alerts map of East Bay showing recent pollution reports from the National Response Center (red dots) and investigation report from NOAA.

Bonny Schumaker, tireless pilot and Gulf pollution watchdog, flew out over East Bay on Saturday (yes, she also flew the notorious Taylor Energy chronic leak site just the day before).  Sure enough, she spotted a leak from one of the platforms in East Bay.  Here’s her video, and a few pics of the leak (here is the platform in Google Maps; the location is  28.998579° North / 89.281001° West).

As far as we can tell at this time, aside from Bonny’s report this particular incident apparently hasn’t been reported to the NRC as required by law. Another example of systematic underreporting of oil pollution in the Gulf?

Small oily leak from platform in East Bay, Gulf of Mexico, on November 10, 2012. Photo courtesy Bonny Schumaker / On Wings of Care.
 Same platform on November 10, 2012. Photo courtesy Bonny Schumaker / On Wings of Care.


1 reply
  1. John Amos says:

    On 11/13 Bonny reported that she got a call from the Coast Guard about this leak. They took a boat out to the platform, confirmed the leak, and notified the platform operator (EPL). The operator told Coast Guard they not aware of the leak, and would get out there to contain it.

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