A giant dome to plug a oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has been lowered to the bottom of the sea in a bid to avert a major environmental disaster.
An estimated 11 million litres of crude have spewed into the sea since a BP-operated oil rig sank on April 22.
Officials have been using dispersants from the air to stop the slick growing larger as it advances towards the nearby Louisiana coast.
That approach though has been criticised by wildlife NGOs.
The state of Louisiana last week slapped an emergency ban on shrimp harvesting in waters near the mouth of the Mississippi River where the oil is expected to flow within the next few days.
It also banned commercial and recreational fishing on April 30.
Fears are growing for sea life in a region full of fish, shrimp and crabs. It is also a major migratory stop for rare birds.