Governor describes the oil he saw during a fly over the Gulf - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Governor describes the oil he saw during a fly over the Gulf

By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

GULF OF MEXICO, MS (WLOX) -"There simply aren't enough skimming boats in Mississippi waters."

That was one observation Governor Haley Barbour made Friday as he assessed the oil's location and movement from the air.

He said, "We've had a couple of intrusions on barrier islands, but none onto the shore."

During an afternoon fly over Governor Haley Barbour did see oil in the Gulf and Mississippi Sound.

"Streamers, ribbons are what we're talking about here, strands of oil that are not miles long, generally orange mostly water at least half water. From what we seen on the barrier islands it cleans up very easily but it's a mess," said Governor Barbour.

A mess indeed, that most hoped would be skimmed out of the water by now. But, the Governor said there are simply not enough boats in Mississippi waters to tackle this monstrous task. So the state has ordered 14 skimming vessels from a shipyard in Jackson County and eight ships from a shipyard in Harrison County.

Governor Haley Barbour said, "And what we have now done is take it upon ourselves to have two local shipyards build vessels that will be that will serve as skimmers that will have the capacity to skim. The problem with that we won't get them over night I have also asked BP to purchase and they have agreed to purchase a number of European vessels."

He also assured the public that they are doing all they can to keep oil from getting ashore.

"We're going to work with unified command to get this oil up and captured before it gets on shore. Obviously, we can't guarantee that I'll say to you something that's been obvious for a while, throughout the Gulf there's simply not enough equipment. Frankly, there's not enough skimmers in the Gulf of Mexico for what we need in ms and we have far less oil than our neighbors in Louisiana and Alabama," said Governor Barbour.

Since skimming capacity is such an issue, the Governor said they will use other methods to soak up larger clumps of oil before it gets into the sound.

Governor Barbour said, "We are also using it as a substitute for skimmers to pull boom or shrimp nets with absorbent material to try to catch the oil."

Mississippi's Governor also tried to give reassurance to the people of the Gulf Coast, who are still healing from wounds of Hurricane Katrina.

Barbour said, "I give this report as more of an update, than alarm. People should know we have considerably more oil outside the barrier islands and the amount is increasing."

"We are trying to work with Federal Unified Command. I think everybody will agree it hasn't been satisfactory. We still have some problems and issues with execution command and control, but they're doing the best they can and we're going try to make that better and better," said Governor Barbour.

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