Critics will dismiss it as a public relations exercise. But BP’s new man in charge of handling the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis is keen to show he is involved on the ground.
Bob Dudley has been in New Orleans to inspect the treatment of sea turtles sickened by the spill. He replaces BP chief Tony Hayward, who is widely seen as gaffe-prone.
“One of my jobs is to listen really carefully, to be sure that we are hearing things and then we can respond and put all the resources of BP into the Unified Command Centre and work with the Coastguard,” said Dudley, BP’s Managing Director.
Dozens of cleaned-up pelicans have been flown to Texas and released, in the biggest operation of its kind since the crisis began in April.
Oil booms and absorbent material are in place to try to protect marshes in Louisiana but some of the sludge has gathered in pockets.
“They are filled with crabs, sitting on top, trying to escape this oil. They, too, are completely covered. We scooped them up in our hands,” said Jaime Matyas of the National Wildlife Federation.
“Normally you could not catch them. They move so quickly. And they are slow, as if you are trying to run, as though your feet were stuck in molasses.”
The spreading slick has soiled the coastlines of four US states. After a temporary setback, BP has now resumed collecting oil from its leaking well.