Coast Guard operations are underway now to asses the damage caused by hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.  According to a press release from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, a fractured underwater pipe released approximately 9,000 (~378,000) barrels of oil into the Gulf.  The incident happened about 40 miles southeast of Venice, La - at a depth of about 5,000 feet.

Aerial operations over the affected area yesterday revealed 3 sheens, the term officials use to describe the area of surface water that showing the unique reflective properties of water tainted with the spilled oil. The company responsible for the pipe was able to find and shut off the leak relatively quickly with the help of a remotely piloted vehicle, and has specially equipped oil-skimming boats clean up the mess.  The spill will likely move southwest in the coming days, but is not expected it affect the shore.

Just for perspective, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 spilled over 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

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