July 6, 2010

Tar Balls Wash Up On Texas Shoreline

More obstacles have stepped into BP's oil spill fight as tar balls have been found along Texas beaches.

Tar balls found in the surf on Galveston Island in Texas were tested and determined to be from the BP spill.

However, officials stressed in a statement that it was not clear if they drifted hundreds of miles from the site of the well, or if they fell or leaked from a ship carrying collected oil to Texas for processing.

About 492 miles of U.S. shoreline across the five Gulf states have been oiled by the disaster.

Oil sheen and tar balls were also spotted on Monday near the mouth of Lake Pontchartrain, the lake near New Orleans that flooded during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The oil prompted crews to unfurl 600 feet of boom to prevent more oil from sullying the estuary.

Nearly a week after Hurricane Alex swept through the Gulf, bad weather still continues to slow down the clean-up efforts.

A giant Taiwanese ship deployed to try and help the clean-up efforts remained in testing, with initial results inconclusive because of choppy waters, and bad weather.

The tanker cruised by the spill but Bob Grantham, a spokesman for TMT Shipping, told AFP news that the results were "inconclusive in light of the rough sea state we are encountering."

Grantham said the company would continue to test the ship "to make operational and technological adjustments" for the supertanker.

The ship is believed to be able to suck up to 500,000 barrels of oily water a day through a series of vents on the side of the ship.

The ruptured well is estimated to have spilled somewhere between two and four million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

The National Hurricane Center warranted Tuesday that a new low-pressure system over the Yucatan peninsula and the Caribbean Sea and heading into the Gulf of Mexico had a 30-percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.


Image Caption: Tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon oil as they were collected East Beach on Galveston Island July 4, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo.


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