BP prepares for tropical weather - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

BP prepares for tropical weather

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Local BP leaders say in the event that a weather system does come our way, it is important that their work crews and equipment are out of the way in case evacuations are ordered for coast residents. BP admits the challenges to prepare for tropical weather are mighty for the oil giant.

Right now, there is more than 425,000 feet of boom deployed in the waters along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Oil containment devices that could cause property damage if a storm rips them away, are being held in place with anchors. 

"We met with county officials and the EOC directors this morning to get input from them on the priority areas of where we could pull some boom out," said BP Public Information Officer Lisa Houghton.

Hancock County leaders want the larger ocean boom, that now spans the Bay of St. Louis, pulled out of the water and the smaller 18-inch boom left in place for oil protection in the event a storm threatens the coast.

"It's also about making sure equipment is secured and protected. We also want to make sure to give Vessels of Opportunity plenty of time for safe travel into safe harbors. So we started that process today as well."

She also said starting that process now will avoid a back-up of boats at the oil decontamination stations.

"Part of what we're doing is getting out in front of this ahead of time. It's at least five days out before any potential landfall right now. Of course, it's a wide area and what we're committed to doing is making sure we are out of the way of any trucks moving equipment, that people are out of the way and finished 48-hours before potential landfall. We want to not impede any coastal evacuation of the people living here on the coast that they may need to take. So we want to be out."

But she said as soon as it's safe to come back, BP and its contract crews will do so and be ready to tackle any oil related products that may have been pushed further inland.

"So we'll have to pull out for the time being, but we will be back. We'll be here for as long as it takes."

BP officials said equipment that can stay outdoors will be stored at their staging area on Canal Road in Gulfport.

Several locations are being considered, but no final decision has been made yet on where equipment that will require dry storage will be taken in the event of a storm.

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