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Bad Weather Continues to Hamper Oil Spill Response Efforts


Officials in the southern U.S. state of Louisiana say bad weather is continuing to slow efforts to contain the oil gushing from a damaged offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. government estimates that 60,000 barrels of oil flow from the well each day. It is the largest oil spill in American history, and numerous attempts to stop the flow have failed.

A disaster response spokeswoman told VOA all skimming, burning or oil boom containment activities were halted Wednesday because of rough weather in the Gulf.

Rough seas have also halted efforts to connect a third containment vessel to the leaking BP oil well. That ship, the Helix Producer, could nearly double BP's oil-capture capacity to 53,000 barrels a day.

The disaster was caused by an April explosion and fire on a rig that killed 11 oil workers.

BP is also in the process of drilling a relief well that should be completed by next month and, it is hoped, stop the oil gusher.

Some environmentalists and officials are criticizing BP for its containment efforts, accusing the company of collecting far less oil than it promised.

Meanwhile, officials in New Orleans say the strong winds from the Gulf pushed tar balls and oil sheen into Lake Pontchartrain - a famed destination just outside the city for residents seeking fresh seafood and outdoor recreation activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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