BP Will Try Smaller Containment Dome in Gulf

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Eric Gay /AP

Gulf of Mexico oil spill

After the failure of British Petroleum’s containment dome to stop the undersea oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company says it will attempt to install a second, smaller dome over the main leak point nearly a mile beneath the surface.

In a statement, company officials say the original dome will be parked elsewhere on the sea bed in order to connect the smaller dome by pipe, which will in turn connect to a drill ship on the surface to collect and treat the oil. The operation, BP says, has never been done in such deep water. As many as four million gallons of oil has seeped into the Gulf since the oil rig explosion triggered the leak last month.

Meanwhile, BP says it is using 275 skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels to collect oil that has risen to the surface. About 90,000 barrels have been recovered so far. Also, work has continued on a relief well since May 2, expected to take three months to complete.

Fisheries are reportedly still safe for the moment, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials. Currently, 93 percent of the Gulf’s federal waters are open for commercial and recreational fishing and tourism. However, NOAA is dispatching a scientist to determine any risks or effects the spill may have had to fish stocks along the Gulf Coast.