[Updated at 11:07 p.m.] Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which unfolded after an explosion aboard the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20:
- BP on Wednesday night successfully repositioned a containment cap over the underwater gusher in the Gulf of Mexico after it removed the device earlier in the day when an undersea robot struck it.
- Obama administration lawyers on Wednesday night filed documents in federal court in New Orleans, Louisiana, signaling their intention to appeal Tuesday's ruling striking down a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. The administration also asked the court to delay lifting the ban until an appeals court reviews the case.
- The request for a stay until the appeal is heard later this summer will be considered by Judge Martin Feldman, who firmly struck down the drilling ban, declaring it "arbitrary and capricious" in his ruling Tuesday. He could rule on the government's request as early as Thursday, officials said.
CLEANUP AND RECOVERY EFFORTS
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday reopened 8,000 square miles of fishing areas in the Gulf of Mexico after it failed to observe oil in the previously restricted zones. The most significant reopening is an area south of Mississippi. Smaller areas also were reopened off the Louisiana and central Florida coasts.
- About 5,500 barrels of oil (231,000 gallons) were collected from midnight to noon Wednesday, and about 4,625 barrels of oil (194,250 gallons) and 19.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared, BP said.
- The Baldwin County, Alabama, coroner said Wednesday that a 55-year-old charter boat captain who was working for BP in cleanup efforts died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. William Allen Kruse's death was announced earlier Wednesday by the oil spill incident commander, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. Another oil recovery worker has died in a swimming accident, Allen said.
- A tropical disturbance in the Caribbean raised fears of a stronger storm forming and heading possibly to oil-affected areas in the Gulf. The National Hurricane Center said the disorganized storm had a 30 percent chance of intensifying. Allen said he has discussed plans to get the two BP oil recovery ships disconnected from the well and moved off scene if needed.
- Bob Dudley has been appointed president and chief executive officer of BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, BP said Wednesday in a statement.
- Dudley said BP is making its oil disaster response organization permanent. He said the oil company will contribute more resources to local and federal government recovery efforts and make sure the claims process is transferred smoothly to Kenneth Feinberg, the director of a $20 billion compensation fund.
- Government estimates say up to 2.5 million gallons of oil could be flowing into the Gulf daily.
- Mark Castlow and Jimbo Meador have a solution for saving hundreds of oil-covered birds along the Gulf of Mexico - special boats designed to help struggling wildlife. However, they also have a problem: despite help from musician Jimmy Buffett, BP and the feds aren't helping them get the boats in the hands of rescuers.
- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Senate panel Wednesday that he will look into issuing a new, less restrictive drilling ban in the near future. He was making a case for a pause on drilling until the cause for the BP spill is fully understood. Salazar appeared before the subcommittee with newly appointed Bureau of Ocean Energy Director Michael Bromwich.
- Bromwich vowed to a Senate panel Wednesday that he would do all he could to root out "shocking behavior" that he hopes is not pervasive. Bromwich told lawmakers he would focus on industry oversight and ridding the agency of corruption.
"If it's severe enough, they should lose their jobs," Bromwich said of employees' improper behavior.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron will have a bilateral meeting with President Obama on Saturday afternoon and will talk about BP and the oil spill, Cameron's office confirmed. The meeting will happen on the sidelines of the G-20 summit taking place this weekend in Toronto, Canada.
Cameron told the House of Commons on Wednesday he had discussed BP in phone calls with Obama, and stressed the company is prepared to meet its obligations to fund the cleanup and compensate those whose businesses have been blighted by the spill.