Vessels of Opportunity May Expand To Track Oil Spill

New Orleans, La. – BP says 2,000 boats are contracted in its Vessels of Opportunity program that uses out-of-work fishing boats in the spill clean-up. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says even if the blown-out well is killed next month by a relief well, there are still hundreds of thousands of oil patches on the water.

"There will be an issue at some point about the Vessels of Opportunity, the amount of work that's available regarding skimming opportunities. We are looking at other things like surveillance, maybe using them to do some testing. And we will try and to the maximum extent possible employ the Vessels of Opportunity."

Allen says oil could wash on beaches and wetlands for the next six weeks. He says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is testing water at various depths to create a type of M-R-I of oil pollution in the Gulf.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.