Ten years on, the call about the Deepwater Horizon explosion is etched in Julian MacQueen’s memory.
“It was one of those moments you remember, like where you were on 9/11. I was at a convention in Scottsdale, Arizona and I got a call from my operations manager. We thought, well that’s a hundred miles away, it’s not going to affect us that much,” he told The Independent.
Like many others in the Gulf of Mexico, for hotelier Mr MacQueen, who has coastal properties in the region, it was a matter of time. “I’m a pilot so I flew out to the rig and I could see the plumes of oil. It was like that old Fifties movie, The Blob. It was coming and it was going to get you.”
On April 20, 2010, night had fallen off the coast of Louisiana, when high-pressure methane gas rose to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig above and exploded into a fireball that could be seen from 40 miles away.
The disaster left 11 workers presumed dead, their bodies never found despite a three-day search by the coastguard. Another 17 of the 126 crew onboard were injured.
The fire was inextinguishable and two days later, the rig sank. The ultra-deepwater well at BP’s Macondo Prospect, where Deepwater Horizon had been drilling, spewed an estimated 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before it was capped.
Then-president Barack Obama called it “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced”.
The fallout was catastrophic: 1,300 miles of coastline from Florida to Texas, was impacted, killing tens of thousands of marine mammals and fish, and decimating livelihoods in the seafood and tourism industries. The cost of the damage ran to tens of billions of dollars.Source: Independent