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May 4, 2010
Oil lurks off the gulf coast
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Winds and waves calmed Tuesday as masses of oil lurked off the beaches and bayous of the Gulf of Mexico coastline as people watched and waited to see where the slick would finally come ashore. So far only oil sheens have reached into some coastal waters in the southeastern U.S., and the oil's slow progress despite an uncapped seafloor gusher was allowing crews and volunteers to lay boom in front of shorelines. That effort was stymied by choppy seas into the weekend but the calmer weather should help. BP PLC has been unable to shut off the undersea well spewing 200,000 gallons (757,000 liters) a day, but crews have reported progress with a new method for cutting the amount of oil that reaches the surface. They're using a remotely operated underwater vehicle to pump chemicals called dispersants into the oil as it pours from the well, to break it up before it rises. Results were encouraging but the approach is still being evaluated, BP and Coast Guard officials said. Several river boat pilots said the edge of the oil slick Monday was 15 to 20 miles (25 to 32 kilometers) off the Southwest Pass, where ships headed to New Orleans enter the Mississippi River. The latest satellite image of the slick, taken Sunday night, indicates that it has actually shrunk since last week, but that only means some of the oil has gone underwater. (23 images)

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An oil slick from the massive spill caused by the explosion of an offshore rig two weeks ago is seen near another rig off the coast of Gulfport, Miss., in the Gulf of Mexico, May 3, 2010. The latest satellite image of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico indicates it has shrunk since last week. But scientists say that only means some of the oil has gone underwater. Mississippi's Port of Gulfport is the nation's second-largest importer of green fruit. The New York Times / Michael Appleton


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A long ribbon of rust colored oil stretches off into the distance off the waters near the Chandeleur Islands off the coast of Louisiana on Monday May 3, 2010. Sun Herald / William Colgin



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Surrounded by a boom line, birds roost on one of the islands that make up the Chandeleur Islands chain in the Mississippi Sound on Monday May 3, 2010. Sun Herald / William Colgin



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Clumps of oil are seen in the waters off of Chandeleur Sound, La., Monday, May 3, 2010. AP / Alex Brandon



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Clumps of oil are seen in the waters off of Chandeleur Sound, La., Monday, May 3, 2010. AP / Alex Brandon



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A Portuguese Man-o-War is seen in clumps of oil in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Monday, May 3, 2010. AP / Alex Brandon



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Gary Matherne, left, 15, pulls a trap from the water as he fishes for blue crab with his father Gary, center, and brother Randy, 12, in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary on May 3, 2010 near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Fishermen who fish the estuary are concerned that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico could adversely affect fishing either through oil contamination or overfishing as other fishermen seek out new areas to make a living. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Hosea Wilson, left, and John Berthelot, right, load shrimp from their catch into a basket, Monday, May 3, 2010, at the Venice Marina in Venice, Louisiana. NOAA has restricted commercial and recreational fishing in oil-affected portions of the Gulf of Mexico. Their boat has been recruited to aid with the oil spill clean up efforts . AP / Eric Gay



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Shrimp boats sit idol, Sunday evening, May 2, 2010, at the Venice Marina in Venice, Louisiana. NOAA is restricting commercial and recreational fishing in oil-affected portions of the Gulf of Mexico. AP / Eric Gay



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Environmental Protection Agency scientist Archie Lee, left, prepares to collect a sample of sand as fellow scientist Peter Kalla washes a sample jar May 3, 2010 on the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi in anticipation of the oil spill from the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster. The EPA is collecting baseline samples of sand and water to compare to contaminated samples should the oil spill come ashore. AFP / Getty Images / Stan Honda



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A dead sea turtle lays on the beach in Pass Christian, Miss., Monday, May 3, 2010. Marine wildlife has been washing ashore in Mississippi in more that usual abundance since the gulf oil spill began over a week ago. Scientists removed the turtle for further study to determine if its death was caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. New York Times / Michael Appleton



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A hermit crab crawls past an oil boom on Breton Island off the coast of Louisiana, Monday, May 3, 2010. ( AP / Patrick Semansky



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Workers clean the beach of debris as it is prepared for possible contamination from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on May 3, 2010 in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Oil is still leaking out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead at an estimated rate of 1,000-5,000 barrels a day. Getty Images / Joe Raedle



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Workers clean the beach of debris as it is prepared for possible contamination from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on May 3, 2010 in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Oil is still leaking out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead at an estimated rate of 1,000-5,000 barrels a day. Getty Images / Joe Raedle



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A man steps over an oil boom on Breton Island off the coast of Louisiana, Monday, May 3, 2010. AP / Patrick Semansky



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Contract workers with U.S. Environmental bring in new oil containment boom lines in Bay St. Louis, Miss., on Monday, May 3, 2010, to replace those placed across the Bay of St. Louis damaged over the weekend from wave action. Sun Herald / Pat Sullivan



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An oil boom protects an inlet on May 3, 2010 in Pass Christian, Mississippi as the gulf coast is still being threatened by the oil spill from the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster. AFP / Getty Images / Stan Honda



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Workers from United States Environmental Services bring a boat with oil booms into a dock May 3, 2010 in Pass Christian, Mississippi, as the gulf coast is still being threatened by the oil spill from the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster. AFP / Getty Images / Stan Honda



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Workers lay down an oil boom as the effort continues to try and keep the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from washing ashore on May 3, 2010 in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Getty Images / Joe Raedle



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Workers place oil containment booms around in the central marshes in St. Bernard Parish, La. on Monday, May 3, 2010. AP / Eric Gay



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Lorne LeBouef, 43, of Violet, cuts a section of boom into the water after dragging it with the boat he was working on, the Aqua-holic, Saturday, May 1, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen deployed oil booms in the Gulf of Mexico in a desperate attempt to stop a massive oil spill from contaminating the marshes along the Louisiana coastline. St. Petersburg Times / Edmund D. Fountain



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A welder at work on a piece from the Pollution Control Dome (behind) being built by steelworkers at the Martin Terminal worksite in Port Fourchon, as BP rushes to cap the source of the oil slick from the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster in Louisiana, on May 3, 2010. Using remote-controlled submarines to shut off the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is like doing "open heart surgery at 5,000 feet in the dark," the head of BP's US operations said. AFP / Getty Images / Mark Ralston



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Workers line up to start the day to help clean up the oil spill, in Venice, La., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. AP / Alex Brandon



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