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Vital data from the last hours of the Deepwater Horizon went down with the oil rig, its owner has told US politicians.
Rig owner Transocean told Congress there are no surviving records of a critical safety test supposedly performed during the fateful hours before the BP-operated rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.
While some data was being transmitted to shore for safekeeping right up until the April 20 blast, Transocean told Congress that the last seven hours of its data are missing and all written logs lost in the explosion.
Meanwhile, out in the Gulf, BP settled on its next attempt to cut down on the spill. Undersea robots will try to thread a small tube into the jagged pipe leaking on the sea bed. The tube, which will suck crude oil to a ship on the surface, will be surrounded by a stopper to keep oil from leaking into the water.
BP said it is not sure how much of the roughly 210,000 gallons leaking daily would be captured by the improvised device.
WASHINGTON — The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.
Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.
Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed.
M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.
BP chief executive Tony Hayward claims that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is relatively 'tiny' but admits that his job is at risk over the incident blamed on his company.
Hayward told Friday's Guardian newspaper that the leaked oil and the estimated 400,000 gallons of dispersant that BP had pumped into the sea to try to tackle the slick should be put in context
The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume," Hayward said