Oil reaches Chandeleur islands

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com
US NEWS OILSPILL 23 BI

GULFPORT

The barrier islands off South Mississippi are the last line of defense against an approaching hurricane and now are tangling with the oil slick that is between 35 miles and 55 miles off the coast.

On a 90-minute flight that left Apollo Aviation in Gulfport on Monday afternoon, the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon spill was clearly visible within the Chandeleur Islands. Small patches of what appeared to be rust-colored oil were even closer, in the channel between Cat Island and Ship Island, 11 miles south of Gulfport.

Long ribbons of oil from the spill appeared as cloudy white from the 3,200 feet altitude, with a sheen in some places and mixed with rust-colored deposits.

The Sierra Club chartered the plane and pilot Chris Loepke made several flights with reporters and photographers from the Sun Herald, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Al Jazeera English and other media over the barrier islands to Breton Sound and the mouth of the Mississippi River.

State officials said Monday morning the oil was within 60 miles of the Coast, which after high seas and strong winds was 20 miles closer than Sunday. There wasn’t any evidence of cleanup crews near the Chandeleurs, with only one small airplane spotted on the 90-minute flight and few boats in federal waters south of Ship Island.

An island in the Chandeleurs surrounded with a pink boom was covered with nesting birds.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/05/03/2150909/oil-reaches-chandeleur-islands.html#ixzz0mxgRbzVn

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