With options running out for ways to stem the huge oil spill off the Louisiana coast, BP engineers are to make a second attempt to cap the blown-out well which is gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
This time they are to use a smaller funnel than before and hope there is no second build up of crystals to prevent it from working.
The well is spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the sea and is threatening tourist beaches, wildlife refuges and fishing grounds across four states.
Marine biologist Rick Steiner has collected several samples of suspect globules found on a beach.
“Well the big story here is finally oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout 40 miles off shore has reached the Southern tip of the Mississippi Delta. It’s here on land,” he said.
BP’s other main option, the use of chemical dispersants to break up the slick has been criticised by environmentalists.
Clean-up crews are combing Alabama beaches for signs of oil, but local tourist operators have already noted a reduction in visitors due to fears of the spill’s impact.