Diamond Saw Stuck in Pipe, as Toxic Spill Nears Florida Beaches
June 2, 2010
(ChattahBox)— How much worse can the Gulf oil disaster get? Apparently much worse. After the failure of the top-kill procedure to cap the gushing underwater oil well, BP and the White House proceeded to a new plan to cut the broken riser pipe and cover it with another top hat or containment dome to suction out the oil. But now that plan is in doubt, as the special diamond-studded saw needed to cut through the pipe has become stuck. And while that fiasco is going on deep below the surface of the ocean, the toxic oil slick is about to defile Florida’s coastline. Now what?
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen held a news conference announcing that a first cut was successfully performed on the broken riser pipe, but the diamond saw has become stuck:
“We are in the process of trying to do the second fine cut with the diamond wire saw,” he said. “That saw blade has become stuck inside the riser pipe. They’re working to move the riser pipe to set it free. “Anybody who’s ever used a saw knows that every once in awhile it will bind up,” he said. “That’s kind of what’s happening.”
If the saw can’t be dislodged by underwater robots, another diamond saw will have to be used. Once the sawing part of the procedure is ironed out, a containment dome will be installed, but the effectiveness of the dome will depend on the smoothness of the cut to the pipe, said Allen:
“As soon as the cut is made that separates the remainder of the riser pipe from the lower marine riser package, they will assess the quality of the cut and either move to install the top cap, which is the tighter device, with actually a rubber seal around it, or the top hat, which is a little wide and has less of a seal,” he said.
Meanwhile, the oil slick has been spotted seven miles south of Florida’s Pensacola beach.
You can watch BP’s underwater disaster live here, if you have the stomach for it.