Flying from the Source directly to the coastal area of eastern Alabama, the team discovered the shocking fact: the flow of oil from the Source was a constant slick all the way to the shore of Alabama. Slow and steady, a mixture of dispersant and crude oil was yards from beach lines that had people sunbathing in beach chairs. The most shocking realization was that everyone had bits and pieces of information, but really no one had any idea where it was going, when it was going to hit and who was safe. [...]

One of the ways BP controlled the media coverage of the oil spill was booking up virtually every available seaplane hour in the Gulf coast area. Luckily, our seaplane captain Dickie was fed up with how BP was trying to control the airways. A lucky situation arose which gave this rogue pilot complete flight clearance, even to the `Source'. Dickie and his seaplane was a rare find for the Gulf Coast during this time. [...]

When we departed the Deepwater site and Dickie communicated to the Orion (call sign "Omaha 99") our intent, the controller came back quite quickly saying, "You've created a hell of a ruckus with your flight today. We've got flights in and out of this airspace and you've been interfering with them." We got chewed out for several minutes straight. The funny thing is that we hadn't been given any advisories or instructions by the controllers the entire time we were orbiting the site. Furthermore, there were no other flights that came or left the immediate area while we were there. We'd have photographs of them if there were. Something tells me that we weren't quite welcome there and our presence was merely tolerated. [...]

The shed was deserted. A small sign read "Come see the truth. I will take you there. Boat trips for photographers and journalists. Call Al at..." I called Al.

"I switched to the other side. I work for BP now. Sorry, I can't take you out or talk to you."

Apparently this isn't an isolated incident. BP's buying up every boat and every boat captain they can lay their hands on. It makes our jobs a lot harder.

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10 Responses:

  1. quadhome says:

    The photos are heavy.

    The manipulative words, not so much.

    • anktastic says:

      So you don't believe BP is trying to keep the public from knowing the extent of the damage? Not sure what bit of the article is manipulative; seemed quite tame to me.

      • quadhome says:

        The reporting seems fairly clear on that point. I'm not disagreeing with any of the facts. Nothing seems very argued here.

        But the language of the blog is clearly meant to evoke emotions:

        "The size of the oil spill, the devastation of the constant leak and the cultural destruction of communities is overwhelming and saddening. The ironic scientific reality is that innocent marine life are being poisoned by their deceased ancestors in our glorified greedy actions. The only hope is that this is a wake up call for the greater situation at hand which is our dependency on fossil fuels. This hope comes at the price of so much loss. This is not okay."

        • anktastic says:

          If there's a place to evoke emotions (particularly rage, concern and outrage!) this is the one - or do you think it's only appropriate to do so in romantic literature??
          No, it would be futile for the article to become a scientific journal - it's important to transmit not just how awful the situation is, but how deeply concerned and outraged a lot of us are about it.

          • quadhome says:

            I think the facts alone are enough to evoke emotions.

            If you're going "document," then document. And, for a blog purported to be interested in the human side of the equation, there's little investigation and interviewing. But a lot of charged and desperate language.

            And really fantastic photography.

    • gryazi says:

      Drill, baby, drill.

    • nebris says:

      "The net effect is that nothing about this well seems crazy anymore. Week by week, the truth of this disaster has drifted toward the stamping ground of the alarmists." ~Joel Achenbach, in his WaPo article

  2. merovingian says:

    Holy crap. That's pretty frightening.

  3. 205guy says:

    I'm surprised more pilots haven't flown in from all over the country to either fly the media for hire or get on the BP dole. Seems like easy money, unless ther is some regultion againt flying for hire in a different state.

  4. dude_abiding says:

    If you are wondering who is throttling coverage of this mess, look no further than the Democrats. They are twice blocked legislation to allow freer access by the media and others to view the spill and cleanup operations.
    See for yourself here: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Democrats-block-amendment-to-ensure-press-has-access-to-oil-spill-98466894.html

    I am sure that fact doesn't fit the narrative of this poster though.