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Oil enters Mississippi Sound

BILOXI — Boats were trying Wednesday to contain and skim oil inside the Mississippi Sound from the BP disaster — one a patch a mile long and a couple hundred yards wide, and another south of Petit Bois Island near the Alabama line.

"The unified command task force is on site, skimming and pulling boom,: state Department of Marine Resources Director Bill Walker said. "It should be handle-able, but what bothers me is that we didn't know about it while it was still way outside the islands. This is the second or third time we've been surprised by material that got too close."

The larger patch came through Dog Keys Pass and was about a mile inside Horn and Ship islands, Walker said Wednesday afternoon.

Weeks ago, after a small patch of oil hit Petit Bois Island, Gov. Haley Barbour, Walker and others called for more boats to be patrolling south of Mississippi waters so the oil could be spotted and dealt with before it got close to islands or into the Sound. The number of boats patrolling quickly went from just a few to more than 400, and helicopters and airplanes are making regular surveillance flights.

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