The British Petroleum (BP) oil company says emergency crews have stopped one of three leaks on a broken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Clear weather is proving helpful to clean-up crews and fishermen in affected areas.
BP representatives say calm seas enabled a submersible robot to reach the drill pipe and position a new valve, stopping one of the three leaks. They say it is unlikely to stop the amount of oil leaking from the broken well, but it does enable crews to focus on the other two leaks.
Meanwhile, BP is moving forward with other plans to stop the flow of oil completely at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Crews loaded a massive steel cap on to a vessel, which they hope to drop on top of the broken well to contain the leak.
Emergency crews also welcomed a break in the weather to resume plans for burning small pools of oil on the surface of the water.
Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP, says the burns can take place as long as wind and wave conditions are light. "The burnings take place right now where the heaviest concentrations of oil are, which is near the well site. They will be going on all day today, it is not just a single burn," he said.
Calm seas were a welcome sight to crab fishermen in Louisiana's St. Bernard parish, who returned to the Gulf to retrieve crab traps in affected waters. Warren Guidroz left the port of Delacroix on Wednesday for the first time in two weeks.
He found his crab traps were full of mud because of recent storms, but there were no signs of oil in the water or on the crabs. Even still, the area is under a temporary fishing ban because of concerns about contamination to seafood. "We can't keep any crabs. They shut us down. We have to dump them back in the water," he said.
Guidroz and his son loaded up about 100 of their traps onto the boat to bring home, instead of leaving them out as they would normally do. Guidroz said he feels safer keeping the traps on shore, until it is clear to fish again. "It was a good year so far. Our best time was coming, it was really just starting. Now I don't know what is going to happen. Hopefully it doesn't put us out of business," he said.
BP has started issuing money to Louisiana and other gulf coast states to compensate fishermen and other businesses that rely on the gulf waters. Many local fishermen also hope BP will hire them to do clean-up work, while the fishing waters remain closed.