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MIAMI, May 4 (Reuters) - Forecasts for the trajectory of the huge oil slick off the U.S. Gulf Coast did not show it hitting the shore for another three days, BP Plc Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said on Tuesday.
“It’s still offshore. ... Right now we’re not showing landfall for three days,” he told a news conference call in Mobile, Alabama, referring to current projections.
Suttles said authorities handling the operation to fight the slick had received a first report of oil coming toward shore this morning at Chandeleur Island in Louisiana.
“We launched 22 vessels ... they’ve been in the area ever since, trying to locate that oil and make sure it doesn’t reach shore. ... They had not actually located any oil coming ashore at that time,” he added.
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said while it was expected some surface oil “sheen” would eventually reach the shore, the containment operation was tracking “heavy pockets of emulsified oil” to prevent them from hitting the coastline.
Alabama Governor Bob Riley said the more favorable weather conditions and projections meant the response effort would have a few more days to try to reduce the slick, contain it and mitigate its impact on the shore.
“If we can get three or four days, I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape,” Riley said. (Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; editing by Todd Eastham)