Gulf Oil Spill
10:18 am
Thu July 22, 2010

Stormy Weather Could Halt Clean-up and Relief Well

New Orleans, La. – Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says if conditions get too rough, vessels now at the well site will be sent to shore for safety. He says one of the last to leave will be a ship carrying robots that have been transmitting images of the well.

"If we had to leave the well capped and unattended right now, we're probably be looking at a gap of three to four days where we would not have surveillance on scene."

Allen could order the cap reopened before abandoning the well site to relieve pressure at the cap. He says so far the cap system has only minor leaks, and pressure readings show the well isn't leaking under the seafloor. Federal forecasters are watching a weather system near Haiti that they say has a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm by the end of the week.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.