Fisherman from Delacroix

2010 Gulf oil spill facts

The biggest U.S. oil discoveries in years lie inside depths regarding the Gulf of Mexico—one of the most dangerous places to drill on the planet.

By Joel K. Bourne, Jr.

Photo by Joel Sartore

On a blistering Summer day in Houma, Louisiana, the area offices of BP—now the Deepwater Horizon Incident Command Center—were swarming with serious men and women in vibrant colored vests. Top BP supervisors and their particular experts wore white, the logistics team wore orange, federal and state ecological officials wore blue. Reporters wore purple vests so their handlers could keep monitoring of them. From the walls of this largest "war area, " huge video displays flashed spill maps and response-vessel locations. Now and then one display screen showed a global Cup football match.

Mark Ploen, the silver-haired deputy event commander, wore a white vest. A 30-year veteran of oil spill wars, Ploen, a specialist, has actually assisted tidy up catastrophes worldwide, from Alaska into the Niger Delta. He today found himself enclosed by men he'd caused on the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska 2 decades earlier. "It's like a high college reunion, " he quipped.

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