On Wings of Care (OWC), an ocean conservation and animal rescue organization, were conducting a series of flyovers near the infamous Deepwater Horizon /Macondo (MC252) Well site in the Gulf of Mexico, spotting whale sharks for a scientific research team. Starting on August 19th the air crew began observing rainbow-tinted slicks and thick globs of oil. Al Jazerra reports that during an Aug 30th flyover OWC Pilot Bonny Schumaker, said: “we saw the slick cover roughly 10 miles [16km] in one direction and four miles [6km] in another.”
OWC said it had not seen such an “expansive surface sheen” since last summer during the catastrophic oil discharge at the Macondo well, 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil gushed into the ocean. That oil spill became the worst environmental disaster in US history.
Samples of the oil were collected by the Alabama Press-Register Newspaper and delivered to Louisiana State University for chemical analysis, scientists have confirmed that the samples were sweet Louisiana crude. Ed Overton, one of the chemists, said: “After examining the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 oil, as good a match as I’ve seen,” in an email to the Press-Register. “My guess is that it is probably coming from the broken riser pipe or sunken platform. … However, it should be confirmed, just to make sure there is no leak from the plugged well.”
BP is denying the oil originated from its wellhead or the two relief wells, which were permanently sealed with cement in September 2010.