More than 100 commercial vessels have been pulled from the waters off the Louisiana coast after nine people involved in oil cleanup operations reported feeling sick, according to agencies responding to the Gulf oil spill and a hospital spokeswoman.
The Unified Command, a coalition of agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of the Interior and the National Parks Service, said it recalled 125 vessels from Breton Sound, which lies about 50 miles southeast of New Orleans.
Four crew members in three vessels involved in oil recovery operations reported feeling sick, the agencies said in a statement.
However, Lisa Faust with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said nine people reported feelings of dizziness.
Seven people were transported to West Jefferson Medical Center, said spokeswoman Taslin Alfonzo - six by ambulance and one by helicopter. All seven were under evaluation as of Wednesday night and were complaining of differing symptoms, she said.
Paramedics were checking on people in all the recalled boats, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Rob Wyman said.
The four crew members who prompted the recall complained of nausea and dizziness along with headaches and chest pains, officials said. Other crew members declined treatment at the dock.
"No other personnel are reporting symptoms, but we are taking this action as an extreme safeguard," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Robinson Cox.
The vessels were involved in cleaning up oil that has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico since April when an oil rig sank about 40 miles of Louisiana, gushing an estimated 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of crude a day.