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BP’s ill-fated relief efforts to stop the damaged well beneath the Gulf of Mexico from gushing oil hit yet another snag on Tuesday, this time taking a hit from nature.
A small fire ignited on the vessel that is collecting oil from the undersea well after lightning struck it at about 9:30 a.m. Central time, officials said.
BP said in a statement that the fire, which started after lightning struck the derrick — the familiar looking tower used to lift the piping — was quickly extinguished, and there were no injuries. But as a precaution, the containment operation was shut down. It was not clear when it would resume.
The incident revealed the precarious nature of the BP’s effort to deal with the stricken well, which for now has no back-up plan.