April 30th, 2010
07:07 PM ET

Roundup: Reports and perspectives on the oil spill

Louis Skrmetta, the operations manager of Ship Island Excursions in Gulfport, Mississippi, says the oil spill could lead to him filing for bankruptcy.

(Updated at 9:26 a.m.)

BP hiring fishing boats to help

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Protection posted this notice:

"BP is looking to contract with vessels for hire (shrimp boats, oyster boats, etc.) to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. The response contractors for this program are already collecting information on vessels. Specifically, they need the name, owner, dimensions, characteristics (including length, draft, horsepower, etc) and other pertinent information you can provide. Direction and training will be provided and determined by area response plans based on the highest priority areas on down.

"As soon as you have gathered the relevant information on your vessel, please email that information to the managing contractor Vince Mitchell at vince.mitchell@lamor.com or 425-745-8017. As well, please copy BP's coordinator Grant Johnson at grant.johnson@bp.com."

(Updated at 9:19 p.m.)

Floridians: What now?

For many residents and businesses along Florida's Panhandle, the oil spill has been met with uncertainty, CNN affiliate WALA reports.

The question for many Floridians bracing for the oil spill to head their way isn't why, or how, but simply, what to do now?

"I guess one thing about hurricanes is you know what you can do," Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce President Meg Peltier told WALA. "You go to the store, you shop, you buy all your goodies and you get ready. People want to get ready for this, but they don't know what to do," Peltier said.

Buddy Rogers, who operates a beach business, told WALA that "The phones have just about stopped ringing, and those that are calling, they're cancelling charters." Rogers said, "I've offered the boat [to authorities] in any way I can, pull booms, whatever they think we can do to help. Right now, all I can do is cut all my spending, save what little bit I can."

Gulf Coast residents worried

Mississippi Gulf Coast residents see their way of life imperiled as the oil slick sloths toward the shoreline.

Fisherman Harold Strong told WLOX, "We'll be out of business, basically, pretty much devastated. I see no recovery. If you lose two to three years, I can see absolutely no way to come back from it."

Marc Douroux Jr., who fishes for a pasttime rather than livelihood, said the oil spill is sure to change marine life.

"All the livestock is going to be killed, birds are going to die, crabs are going to die, fish are going to die, there's not going to be nothing to fish for no more," he told WLOX.

[Updated at 7:04 p.m.]

Tour boat captain says oil spill worse than Katrina 

CNN All Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye and photojournalist Mark Biello are currently in Gulfport, Mississippi. They spent the morning with local tour boat captains, whose livelihoods – ferrying tourists around the barrier islands – are threatened by the approaching oil spill. 

Louis Skrmetta is the operations manager of Ship Island Excursions, a family-owned business since 1926. He told CNN that the oil coming to shore is worse than Hurricane Katrina. 

"At least with Katrina we had clean water and something to eat," he said. "I'd rather lose my house again than go through this."  

With his three boats docked, Skrmetta says he is considering filing for bankruptcy if he cannot operate tours this summer, his busiest time of year.

[Updated at 6:42 p.m.]  

Crude oil-eating microbes 

An Indiana company that specializes in removing toxic waste may hold the holy grail of oil spill cleanups: A crude oil-eating microbe.  

Steve Kennedy, president of Bioremediation Inc., told CNN affiliate WSBT his business partner in Florida is working to get the company a shot at the oil slick. 

“Ours would be a simple way," Kennedy told WSBT. "It would be spraying [the product] down and letting the microbes consume it off. That is how it works.” 

Kennedy told WSBT: “Us as humans, we consume steak and pizzas. Our microbes consume hydrocarbons, and crude oil is a hydrocarbon." 

Tourism in southwest Florida 

While the oil spill Friday was more fright than bite for southwest Florida, that didn't stop tourism officials in the region from fretting. 

Tamara Pigott, director of the Lee Co. Visitor and Convention Bureau, told CNN affiliate WINK, "We don't need any bad publicity to scare off our European visitors, who come here in the summer typically."  

Hotel manager Ken Carpenter told WINK, "Business is not good already, and to have this kind of mess would really hurt us, heading into the summer months. We are just holding steady with what we did last year, and we don't need bad publicity!"  

iReporter Frank Underwood, who lives in Waveland, Mississippi, spotted these crews in nearby Bay St. Louis on Friday setting out protective booms along a bridge.

[Updated at 5:37 p.m.]  

A worried chef in Florida  

As Florida's Gulf Coast restaurateurs anxiously watch developments related to the oil spill, one chef in Lantana, Florida, said the disaster will cause a spike in seafood prices in the area.  

Geno Lepre, chef at Riggins Crabhouse in Lantana, told WPTV, "The price [of some seafood dishes] is going through the roof. Going through the roof...which is bad for our customers and for us."  

Blue crabs will especially be hit hard, Lepre told WPTV.  

"Where's all the oil at? On top of the water," Lepre said. "And what are you gonna do when you scoop them up and they're full of oil?"  

[Updated at 4:29 p.m.]  

UAB researchers: Oil slick endangers terrapins  

University of Alabama-Birmingham researchers have decided not to release a group of Alabama diamondback terrapins in the Gulf this weekend due to the oil spill, CNN affiliate WBMA reports.  

"If you get an oil slick in there - [the terrapins] live in the salt marsh, that's going to coat the salt marshes," Dr. Thane Wibbels, a UAB biologist told WBMA. "And these things feed off crab and snails, and anything they eat is going to be covered in oil. The immediate impact is they are going to be eating oil laden food. It's going to be bad for their health and possibly result in mortality."  

A team of researchers is heading to the Gulf, where the mature male terrapin population is "teetering," Webbels said.  

 [Updated 3:33 p.m.]  

Fishermen say BP ignores their offer to help  

Commercial fishermen in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, say BP is failing to use their expertise to protect coastal waterways from oil damage, CNN affiliate WWLT-TV reports.  

More than 200 of the parish’s 330 fishing operations have offered their boats, docks and other aid.  

“People around here, they know the marsh. This is what they do here every day,” fisherman Kevin Heier told WWLT-TV. “They know how to get from one place to another using the safest route with the weather condition. Why waste your time with people who don’t know the area trying to do the work, while we can get you there and back without a problem?  

“We have all these boats available. People will be out of work. The fishing industry, I’m sure, is going to go to hell. We just don’t understand why they’re going to get outside contractors to do the work.”  

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.]  

WDSU-TV: New Orleans residents can smell oil  

After New Orleans residents said they could smell oil in the air, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Department of Environmental Quality said they asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to monitor air quality continuously, CNN affiliate WDSU-TV reports.  

Knockout punch for fisherman?  

His business has survived cataclysmic natural disasters, but commercial fisherman Rene Cross of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, says the impending man-made disaster would do him in.  

“That would put us out of business,” Cross told CNN affiliate WDSU-TV. “And it's so hard to have come as far as we've come back, to get beat down again.”  

[Posted at 1:29 p.m.]  

WPLG-TV: The tarpon fish threatened  

Among the wildlife that could be affected by the oil spill is the tarpon fish, CNN affiliate WPLG-TV reports. The tarpon, the icon of Florida's $10 billion fishing industry, grows up to 10 feet long and can live for 80 years. Before it swims into Florida's waters, the tarpon grows up in the Gulf of Mexico.  

"The entire path of which they are operating is under assault, if you will," said Gerald Ault, a marine biologist who studies tarpon migration at the University of Miami's Rosensteil School. "The timing, really, for that animal probably couldn't be any worse because this is right in the middle of peak spawning period."  

Ault has detailed charts that map the location of the oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana and its slick growing larger than West Virginia. The projected path of the oil, if it is carried east around the Florida peninsula, mirrors the tarpons' migratory pattern, Ault said.  

"It's going to seriously impact or have an impact on Florida fisheries both in the Gulf and the southeastern U.S.," Ault said.  

iReporter: BP's floating booms won't work  

The floating booms that BP is setting out to corral the Gulf oil spill won’t work, says CNN iReporter James Amerson of Pensacola, Florida.  

“BP purchased millions of feet” of boom, he said. “It’s $30 a foot and it’s 20 inches deep. The maker of the boom actually says this will not be effective in high seas. The weather report this morning was we’re having our first coastal flood warning of the season.  

“All the effort of the boom being put in place – I know they have to do something – is going to be useless,” he said.  

Amerson said he is not taking any measures to protect his waterfront home, but has volunteered to help clean wildlife with Emeral Coast Keepers.  

 “It’s hard not to burst into tears knowing that it’s all about to be gone,” he said.  

– From CNN iReport producer Christina Zdanowicz  

WDSU-TV: Impact on marine traffic  

 The U.S. Coast Guard said the Mississippi River’s Southwest Pass near New Orleans, Louisiana, remains open to deep draft vessels despite the current oil spill, and is free of any restrictions to marine traffic, CNN affiliate WDSU-TV reports.

soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. hector pena

    We should have thousands of ships and boats along with national gaurd, volunteers, and the navy out there right now 24/7 cleaning cleaning cleaning until every drop of oil is cleaned off!!! this is an emergency!!! let's go!

    May 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Vicky

    for the lady wanting to know where is sarah palin with her drill baby drill is I didnt find anything on sarah but on fox new they have a poll up about off shore drilling and the majority of readers on faox say drill baby drill? how can people say that with this size of a disaster? it is sickning to me. my father always said let the arabs drill the oil and we just buy it then if anything goes wrong explosions etc it is their mess not our. he said NEVER do anything that will hurt America. this is a perfect example of what he meant.

    May 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chopswell

    This is cause for WAR! War against big oil, War against ALL POLITICIANS who have had ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE DEREGULATIONS over the past 10 years, War against Britain! I mean what the heck are they doing over here drilling oil along our coast and selling it to US??? Get your ass's back across the pond and we'll collect all this we can, put in a tanker and dump it off YOUR SHORELINE.

    And for EVERYONE who reads this, PLEASE BOYCOTT ANY BP STORES!!! Make the message clear we don't want them in our TOWNS, our CITIES, OUR COUNTRY! GIT OUT!!!

    May 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jay

    Drain every dime from BP and give it to the people affected. They had no safety valve and cut other corners in the name of profit. Better yet, bring the CEO and top executives and make them clean it for years while the USA liquidates all their private/public holdings and uses it as a recovery fund. Tired of the rich escaping .... maybe when they're done cleaning they can be sealed in an unstable mine in West Viriginia along with the mine owner of a few weeks ago's tragedy.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    The magnitude of the oil spill is in no way comparable to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This applies to both human or economic suffering.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pensacolian

    So many emotions. So hard to grasp....

    Empathy for those directly affected.

    Anger at BP for manipulating the rules of safety.

    Distrust for our government for letting BP manipulate them.

    Disgust for our current administration and their response.

    Grief for the loss of sealife.

    Overwhelming sadness for the state of our country for this to happen.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kat

    Just signed up for post-spill beach cleaning. This is horrible. Everyone here has a knot in their stomachs and a breaking heart for all of us on the Gulf Coast. I'd rather go through Hurricane Ivan again than have this happen. Sad, very sad.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mamacoo

    With all due respect to those who will be affected by this oil problem, can we just calm down. I mean there are dire predictions, this will be worse than Katrina (I beg to differ, ask the residents of New Orleans about that). If you are in the area and there is something you can do bless you. Otherwise can we refrain from hyping the situation. Unfortunately I think people are falling for the media hype. Everyone has an opinion but few have facts. Let's refrain from allowing the media to pump this up for ratings sake.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jenna

    I just wish I knew why people are so STUPID. Which is more important, money or our planet? Come on people, use your brains. This should have never happened.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. joeyiwat

    How will this effect unemployment? I have been a democrat all my life. But have found since Obama, it is not just Republicans it is ALL politicans. I am a mechanical engineer so I am quite educated. It took us less than a decade to go to the moon when we decided to go there. Tell me it is not a cover up with alternate fuel sources. For everyone, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the UNIVERSE. It is time we use it. The oil is buried below ice, rock and water for a reason!!!!!! And to Obama if you don't do something drastic about all these free wheeling companies, YOU are just as worthless as every other politician!!!!!!

    May 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Katherine Riebe

    My prayers are that we come up with a way to stop this oil from gushing out into the ocean any more. My God, what has the oil industry done to Mother Earth. It is a sad day for God to see that these people don't care about our planet. We are commanded to subdue the earth as Genesis points out. It's time to shut down all money greedy oil companies and begin to design and engineer cars, boats, trucks, etc with Green technologies. Shut the oil rigs down, tear em down, clean up the oceans and shores and stop drilling for good. We have got to manufacture different transportation vehicles, period.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Destinite

    Destin FL here... For all of you commenters who have stated "calm down and get over it", shame on you! This will effect us for years to come. Many people seem to forget when they come to our beaches and spend their days lying on the beach, drinking your pina colada's for a week or weekend that people actually live here. This disaster that we are watching heading to our shores, is equally as destructive as watching a tornado rip through your neighborhood and destroy, your parks and the places you and your family frequent and visit. We have been informed that if this reaches our shores, we will be living in the fumes and watching our marine life and feathered friends die right before our eyes. It is absolutely heartbreaking for us. We will watch our friends who depend on the fishing for their and their families livelihood go under. We will see some of our friends restaurants close and others lose their jobs, which will result in the loss of their homes. Do not tell us to "calm down and get over it".

    We love our tourists and are quite thankful for you as our economy absolutely depends on you. We hope and pray that this awful tragedy does not make it to our beautiful waters and beaches. We truly hope you are able to come and visit us as we need all the support that we can get from all of you.

    May 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. noble

    post number 17 is so gay

    May 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bailoutsos

    Worse than Katrina? Yes. Worse the the Exxon Valdez? Yes. It will keep leaking oil until something, like a tactical nuke, can stop the flow.

    May 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. the adept

    Too bad we had to ruin the planet, before we finally woke up.

    May 1, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
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