Portsmouth-based cutter responds to Gulf oil spill

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by Dottie Wikan

WVEC.com

Posted on April 30, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 30 at 5:49 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- A Coast Guard cutter from Portsmouth is responding to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

USCGC Harriet Lane was sent to the Gulf Coast.

She'd left North Florida Shipyard in Jacksonville on April 8 after a three-month drydock availability.

In the April newsletter from the ship's commanding officer, he says the cutter was diverted to be the command platform for the response to the sinking of the mobile oil drilling unit Deepwater Horizon.

The spewing oil -- about 210,000 gallons a day -- comes from a well drilled by the rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded in flames April 20 and sank two days later. BP was operating the rig that was owned by Transocean Ltd. The Coast Guard is working with BP to deploy floating booms, skimmers and chemical dispersants, and set controlled fires to burn the oil off the water's surface.

The Air Force has two C-130 Hercules cargo planes from Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Ohio awaiting orders to dump chemicals on the spill.

126 people were on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig when the incident occurred. 11 remain unaccounted for; 17 were injured, 3 of them critically. 1 injured person remains in the hospital.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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