Oil Coating Seafloor and Killing Fish, Crabs ... and the American Dream

George Washington's picture



Irish-Canadian journalist Alex Kearns, who now lives in St. Mary's Georgia posted this image on her website today, along with the following description:

researcher captured this image. A discarded flag (or one that has
fallen from one of the many vessels in the area) rests on the ocean
floor amid the oil and the bodies of dead crabs.

A two-inch
layer of submerged oil is coating portions of the Gulf seafloor off the
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: a week after a smothering layer of
floating crude washed ashore there. This scenario is being played out
all along the Gulf shoreline.

Collecting in pockets and troughs
in waist-deep water, the underwater oil is looser and stickier than the
tarballs that cover the beach. The consistency is more like a thick
liquid, albeit one made up of thousands of small globs. Unlike
tarballs, which can often be picked up out of the water without
staining the fingers, the submerged oil stains everything that it
touches. If you passed your hand through the material it would emerge
covered in oily smears.

There are a number of patches of
submerged oil 40 to 100 feet off the beach, apparently collecting along
rip currents and sandbars. The carcasses of sand fleas, speckled crabs,
ghost crabs, and leopard crabs are spread throughout the oil, a thick
layer of the material caking the bodies of the larger crabs - their
claws looking as if they been turned into clubs made of oil.


schools of bait fish are hugging the shore, attracting large numbers of
birds. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, mullet, ladyfish, speckled
trout, and other fish are congregating in massive numbers amid the

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab measured large areas of low
oxygen water just off the beach at Fort Morgan last week, beginning in
water around 20 feet deep. Monty Graham, a University of South Alabama
scientist, theorized that the population of oil-consuming microbes had
swelled. Sea life begins to die if oxygen levels drop below 2 parts per
million. "We saw some very low oxygen levels, some below 1," said
Graham, of testing he conducted aboard a Dauphin Island Sea Lab
research vessel. He said that the layer of low-oxygen water closest to
shore off Fort Morgan began at the bottom and rose up 30 feet.

said he believed that the low oxygen levels were responsible for
reports of strange behavior among fish: "The low oxygen explains things
we've been hearing, like reports of flounder swimming on the surface."

low-oxygen levels offshore may also explain the dense aggregations of
fish seen in the surf zone. The turbulent area near shore is naturally
high in oxygen due to the influence of the breaking waves.

are numerous reports that suggest that oil is moving beneath the
surface in Alabama waters. State officials conducting shrimp trawls in
the Mississippi Sound two weeks ago found oil on their nets when they
pulled them. More recently, BP contractors working around Dauphin
Island reported oil coming up on their anchors.

Gulf Coast Residents Hit Hard

It's not just the sealife.

coast residents are being hit hard as well.

David Kotok of
Cumberland Advisors estimates
that one million jobs will be lost permanently
in the Gulf coast oil services and supporting industries.

House Judiciary Committee has found:

  • As of ... Tuesday, June 15th, BP had paid less than 12 percent ($71 million
    dollars out of an estimated $600 million) of outstanding claims
    submitted by individuals and businesses.
  • Two
    weeks after the disaster, BP had not paid a single dollar to the
    individuals or businesses harmed by the explosion and the oil spill.
    As of May 18th (four weeks post-disaster), BP had only paid $11,673,616.
  • In
    apparent response to congressional oversight and the efforts of the
    federal government, BP began increasing their payments to affected
    individuals and businesses in the past few weeks.
  • Although
    the oil spill disaster occurred on April 20th, BP has only begun to
    compensate individuals for their full loss of income in the past two
    weeks. We understand individuals continue to experience delays in the
    receipt of full income awards.
  • BP has not paid a single bodily injury claim.
    As of Friday, June 18th, there were 717 claims submitted for bodily
    injury, including claims for respiratory issues, headaches, and skin
  • BP has not paid a single claim for the diminishment in value of
    homes in the affected areas
    of the Gulf South, out of a total
    175 claims submitted.
  • Out of the 267
    claims submitted, BP has paid only $169,371 in loss of income claims
    for affected restaurants. However, the lack of data from BP on the
    damage amounts requested by the affected restaurants or the number of
    claims paid makes it impossible for the Committee to determine if
    restaurants and other Gulf Coast businesses are being properly

"I remain concerned that BP is stiffing too many
victims and short-changing others," [Committee Chairman John] Conyers

Reuters notes
that BP is paying only a fraction of what the fishermen think they're
entitled to.

USA Today notes:

officials in Louisiana and Florida say the payouts, so far, have been
small and often too slow and that BP hasn't given them the data they
need to adequately monitor the process.

WDSU reports:

people claim the payout process is unorganized, and other said there
is no system in place to account for how many days the fishermen have
worked and no clear time frame for when they'll see the money they've

The L.A. Times notes that:

request for tax records poses a problem for some residents of fishing
communities in southeastern Louisiana — the nonconformists who haven't
kept records or reported their cash income.

Magazine makes a similar point:

can bring in a lot of money in a very short period of time during the
right season, but fishermen might be hard-pressed to provide evidence —
bank statements, pay stubs — that can back that up. The same goes for
many other businesses: if receipts are dwindling at a restaurant, or
guests are cancelling at a resort, how is it possible to prove that the
spill alone is responsible? "We're stuck in the middle," says Chris
Camardelle, whose seafood restaurant in Grand Isle has been badly hurt
by the oil spill. "So it's a tricky situation."

there are reports that businesses who sell to fishermen are faring even worse than the fishermen

The above-linked USA Today article provides an
example of the difficulties faced by non-fishermen:

Chagnard, owner of Chag's Fishing and Marine Supply store] says he sent
documents in twice that were lost, including three years of personal
and business tax returns, monthly sales figures and profit-and-loss


"I'm at five weeks, and I
haven't got a dime," Chagnard says, despite claims on BP's website that
"reasonable effort" will made to provide interim payments to claimants
within 48 hours.




Chagnard says that puts him in a tough spot,
because his fishing-supply distributors are expecting payment for
inventory that Chagnard can't sell, because the spill has squashed the
fishing industry. "I can't imagine going through this again next month,"
Chagnard says.

Given that
the oil spill is killing not only fish and crabs - but the American
dream for millions of Gulf Coast fishermen, shrimpers, tourist industry
workers and others - the image in the photograph above is very powerful


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
onlooker's picture

I posted a few weeks back that this would not be stopped. I wish I had been wrong. It may be that the Gulf of Mexico will be lost for 50 to 100 years as a safe place. What is needed now is the plan to deal with the health risks that may impact the population. They need to get a plan and inform the public about the airborn bad stuff. The obvious need to move from the areas that have oil on shore is not hard to figure. The economy is gonna be tanked, but seeing as how they have saved it so far, this should be no problem. Or maybe they need to plan for a 30% or 100% or so unemployment of those who have to move. The Gulf will be dead so no need to make a lot of plans for it. Maybe soy products will fill in for the fish. If the summer storms lift a lot of oil stuff off the Gulf and carry it inland then more people will have to move. Medical problems will be out of control. The back log of housing in oil areas will gone along with good housing. Livable housing will become of higher value in livable areas. Some areas will not be livable for decades. Water supplies will be destroyed, crop land will be lost for a few years. So figure a major storm taking out the water supply in the southern 1/2 of any state, then think of maybe two states. This could become unsolvable quickly.

We need to look at the realities of a large problem and get some plans known before the emergency. Again, I hope I am wrong. 

Augustus's picture

Would you like to profit from your belief in a fantasy?

What amount for a Dec 31 date as to having a kill on the blowout?  I expect that it will occur before the end of August.  However you are so very confident that it will never be stopped that 12/31 should be no problem with you. 

Oh regional Indian's picture

You are actually too right onlooker.

What you are seeing is undeniable.

In fact, seeing what you and I'm sure many others see, I put up a plan page on my web-site on how to be pro-active for what is coming to the GOM and the South in general.

See : http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/prare/

if interested.

And you know what? I was met with the thundering sounding of indifference. Here I am, an Indian, offering time, money and skills..... self-fulfilling though, I had only expected as much.

May be a sad foreshadow of the times we are entering.

Every man for himself.

But then we do live in a time when selfishness has long been regarded as a prime, winning quality.

Win tiger, win. At all costs, win!




RichardP's picture

If the relief wells do not work as planned, at a minimum they will stop using dispersant and simply skim the thick oil that comes to the surface.  They can pick up most of the escaping oil this way, and for a long time.  Best-case scenario is that they drop tubes to the BOP and suck up most of the crude that way.  Until it is no longer necessary.  We've figured out how to send men to the moon.  We can certainly figure out how to minimize the impact of the oil rupture.

Have you seen any of the NASA satellite pictures?  The area west of the Mississippi delta is pretty much untouched.  If it stays that way, much life will reproduce there.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Awesome GW.

And as tired and overused as the cliche might be, a picture is truly worth a million words. I know, it used to be a thousand words, but we live in the age of hyperbole.

Like all things that are given to us as messages, they start as a trickle and then grow into a flood, till we sit up and take notice.

This time IS different though. This time IS different.

All the teetering plates, sinning atop teetering poles, spun by teetering spin-Meisters.. teeter, totter....crash!

So much to do, so little time, does anyone else see that? A long way to go back in, grab a hold of your own teetering center.

Nothing else will work this time. No bail-outs, no soothing words, no collective action.

We are face to face with our own ATLANTIS moment, a species out of control, teetering, like 6 billion spinning pieces of porcelain, fragile and totally dependent on the skill of the spin-meister to keep us aloft, to keep us spinning, to keep us safe.

Go in,in,in,in,in......



benb's picture

That has to be the most sobering photograph I've seen so far symbolizing the processes now in motion.

Instant Karma's picture

Part of the American dream is overcoming obstacles, never giving up, fixing problems, and constantly trying to make things better tomorrow than they are today. The oil well blow out sucks, and it's an environmental disaster. For some, it's an economic disaster as well. Hopefully the engineers will figure out what went wrong so it doesn't go wrong again. Hopefully we can figure out a way to decrease our dependence of fossil fuels (nuclear energy with electric cars would work, along with a massive upgrade of the electrical grid).

I don't understand why building nuclear power plants, which emit no carbon, and can supply virtually unlimited amounts of energy, is not the top priorty, along with a grid upgrade and electric cars. Most of the oil used goes for gasoline production.

phat ho's picture

And so Summer begins...

bigkahuna's picture

People are going to keep on making light of this situation until it gets really serious.

Augustus's picture
Ixtoc: The Gulf's other massive oil spill no longer apparent

"The environment is amazingly resilient, more so than most people understand,'' says Luis A. Soto, a deep-sea biologist with advanced degrees from Florida State University and the University of Miami who teaches at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

"To be honest, considering the magnitude of the spill, we thought the Ixtoc spill was going to have catastrophic effects for decades ...But within a couple of years, almost everything was close to 100 percent normal again.''

johnnynaps's picture

IDK, but being a gambling man.....it is a shame/sham that the casino (DOW) doesn't allow me a hedge/mutual fund or bet in favor of a new-age cancer arising from this Gulf spill!

pizzgums's picture

wow, what a totally staged photo. it's decent for high school beginners photo class, but really now....

Thoreau's picture

That picture is worth all the gold that used to be in Fort Knox. Quite prophetic.

tempo's picture

Matt Simmons gives a zero percent chance that the relief well will work because there is little steel casing left in the blowout well.  If the toxic fume/spill reaches onshore and people starting getting sick, millions may have to be evacuated.  This will make Katrina look like a picnic.   BTW www.crownweather.com predicts strong storms in the GOM by next Sunday.    The good news just keeps flowing.

Augustus's picture

Please, No More of the Matt Simmons nonsense.

Where the hell do you believe that the casing went?  It is still down the hole and has not gone anywhere.  If this well blew 15,000 feet of pipe (three miles of pipe) up through the riser and rig floor, don't you believe someone would have noticed?  The BOP is sitting on the 20" just whare it is supposed to be.  The final casing string is inside and under the BOP, it did not come out the top and through it.

Damage Inc.'s picture

It is not that the casing went anywhere.  The concern is that not all of the mud and material used for the top kill was returning through the BOP.  There have been suggestions and there is some evidence that the casing below the sea floor is compromised and that the oil can leak through the casing to the annular space around the casing and into the surrounding strata.

A significant potential problem is if the casing below the sea floor is damaged, the pressure from the rising oil and the abrasion of any material (e.g. sand) in the oil could eventually fatally compromise the subsea floor pipe.

The subsea floor damage has not been confirmed publicly.  You can check out theoildrum.com to see why it might be likely.  Simmons' hyperbole does not help, but there is a real chance the relief wells will not work if there is damage to the casing below where the relief well intersect it.  Of course, stating it in that manner will not get you a headline on Bloomberg.

Screwball's picture

So we find out the BP spill is getting worse.  Shocking!  Who would have thunk it?

That must be good news, or the yuan news out of China must be.  Something must be, the futures are going nuts.

I'm not surprised in the bizarre world we now live in.  Nothing makes sense.

Except our good ole bud George.  Thanks for posting his thoughts, one of the true classics, and oh so true.

You were a true genius George, I can only imagine what you would have to say today.

Godspeed George, we need more like you.  Too bad more didn't listen.

aheady's picture

Come back George. Please. We'll listen this time.

RockyR's picture

hey, what's the latest on the Toyota accelerator issue?

WineSorbet's picture

I'm really tired of hearing the bullshit that there is no affect on the environment from this catastrophe.  If you really believe that, then put your actions where your mouth is.  Take your family down the to GOM, take a nice long swim and then go buy some local seafood and eat it.  Then and ONLY THEN will you have credibility in your conviction that this is, "not a big deal". 

MacHoolahan's picture

Of course it's a big deal - but like Bhopal and like Goldman - our elected reps will get worked up about it on TV - and then we'll do precisely *nothing*.

RichardP's picture

"I'm really tired of hearing the bullshit that there is no affect on the environment from this catastrophe."

I've kept up with most everything that has been  posted on this issue and I don't remember anyone making such a claim.  What I have seen is a debate over how serious the effect will be and how long it will last.


AnAnonymous's picture

Anyone? Where? On this site? If yes, you missed the comments.

Could give names right now.

Latest flavour: worst natural environmental disasters exist. Been little change from telling it would have no impact.No impact was too big to swallow. So now, the new modus operandi is to compare a disaster resulted from man activity to natural events. Nature can do much so worse.

Just read again some other OPs on the topic.

russki standart's picture

Don't worry, they will show up to shill as always...need to earn their check from BP and/or related parties.

VK's picture

What American dream?

"Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice . . . you don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying . . . lobbying, to get what they want . . . Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want . . . they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin' years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . . Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it . . . they’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fuckin' place. It’s a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in The big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people . . . white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means . . . continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you . . . they don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . .”

George Carlin


russki standart's picture

I really miss George Carlin.  He saw so clearly... imagine what he would have said about Obama.

Híppos Purrós's picture

Thank you for that, VK...  and where's George when we really need'im?... ;)

Pike Bishop's picture

For a while, 10+ years ago, I believed that George Carlin had grown too old and angry. It seemed overdone.


The perception of anger is relative, like any perspective.

I was not as angry as I should have been.

It's time to come out of retirement, and bring the rain.

VK's picture

More George: 


I´d like to talk a little about the "war" in the Persian Gulf. Biiiiig doin´s in

the Persian Gulf. You know my favorite part of that war? It was the first war we

had that was on every channel plus cable. And, the war got good ratings too,

didn´t it? Got good ratings! Well, we like war!

We like war, we´re a war-like people! We like war because we´re good at it! You

know why we´re good at it? Because we get a lot of practice. This country´s only

200 years old and already we´ve had ten major wars. We average a major war every

twenty years in this country, so we´re good at it! And it´s a good thing we

are, we´re not very good at anything else anymore! Hah? Can´t make a decent car,

can´t make a TV set or a VCR worth a fuck ... got no steel industry left, can´t

educate our young people ... can´t get health care to our old people ... but we

can bomb the shit out of your country


Especially if your country is full of brown people. Oh, we like that, don´t we,

that´s our hobby? That´s our new job in the world: bombing brown people! Iraq,

Panama, Grenada, Libya - you got some brown people in your country - tell ´em to

watch the fuck out ... or we´ll goddamn bomb them!

But when´s the last white people you can remember that we bombed, can you

remember -- can you remember ANY white people we´ve ever bombed? The Germans!

They were the only ones, and that´s only because they were trying to cut in on

our action! They wanted to dominate the world - bullshit, that´s our fuckin´


Now we only bomb brown people. Not because they´re trying to cut in on our

action, just because they´re *brown*!

Now you´ve probably noticed I don´t feel about that "war," the way we were told

we were supposed to feel about that war ... the way we were ordered and

instructed to feel by the United States Government to feel about that war ...

you see, I tell ya ... my mind doesn´t work that way ... I got this real moron

thing I do - it´s called, "thinking," - and I´m not a very good American because

I like to form my own opinions. I don´t just "roll over" when I´m told to.

Sad to say most Americans just "roll over" [tchock] on command. Not me - I have

certain rules I live by.

My first rule:

I don´t believe anything the government tells me. Nothing. Zero. Nope.

And I don´t take very seriously the media or the press in this country, who, in

the case of the Persian Gulf War were nothing more than unpaid employees of the

Department of Defense, and who, most of the time functioned as sort of an

unofficial public relations company for the United States Government.

So, I don´t listen to them, I don´t *really* believe in my country, and I gotta

tell ya folks, I don´t get all choked up about yellow ribbons and American

flags. I consider them to be symbols, and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.

Me? I look at war a little bit differently. To me war is a lot of prick waving,

ok? Simple thing, that´s all it is, war is a whole lot of men standing out in a

field waving their pricks at one another. Men are insecure about the size of

their dicks, so they have to kill one another over the idea.

That´s what all that asshole jock bullshit is all about. That´s what all that

adolescent macho male posturing and strutting in bars and locker rooms is all

about - it´s called, "dick fear!" Men are terrified that their pricks are

inadequate, and so they have to compete with one another to feel better about

themselves, and, since war is the ultimate competition, basically men are

killing each other in order to improve their self-esteem.

You don´t have to be a historian or a political scientist to see the "Bigger

Dick Foreign Policy" theory at work. It sounds like this:

"What? They have bigger dicks? Bomb them!"

And, of course, the bombs and the rockets and the bullets are all shaped like

dicks. It´s a subconscious need to project the penis into other people´s

affairs. It´s called, "FUCKING WITH PEOPLE!"

So ...

As far as I´m concerned that whole thing in the Persian Gulf was nothing more

than a biiiiig prick-waving dick fight. In this particular case Saddam Hussein

had questioned the size of George Bush´s dick. And George Bush had been called a

wimp for so long (´wimp´ rhymes with ´limp´), that he has to act out his manhood

fantasies by sending other people´s children to die.

Even the name, "Bush," is related to the genitals without *being* the genitals.

A "bush" is sort of a passive, secondary sex characteristic. Now, if this man´s

name had been George "Boner" ... well, he might have felt a little bit better

about himself and we wouldn´t have had any trouble over there in the first


This whole country has a manhood problem, biiig manhood problem in the USA, you

can tell from the language we use, language always gives you away. What did we

do wrong in Vietnam? We "pulled out." Eh, not a very "manly" thing to do, is it?

When you´re fucking people, you´ve got to stay in there and fuck them good! Fuck

´em all the way! Fuck ´em ´til the end! Fuck ´em to death! Stay in there and

keep fucking them until they´re all dead!"

We left a few women and children alive in Vietnam, and we haven´t felt good

about ourselves since. That´s why in the Persian Gulf George Bush had to say,

"this will not be another Vietnam." He actually used these words: "This time

we´re going all the way." Imagine a American President using the sexual slang of

a thirteen-year-old to describe his foreign policy.

If you want to know what happened in the Persian Gulf, just remember the names

of the two men who were running that war - Dick Cheney and Colin Powell -

somebody got fucked in the ass!

cossack55's picture

For your own sake, review:


Phytoplankton photosyntesis and impact on atmospheric oxyegen levels

Corexit 9500 = Agent Orange (new AND improved)

Red Tide blooms

how many oxygen tanks you have stored next to your gold and guns

May I interest you in another shrimp?

Snake's picture

Welcome to an African reality. Imagine one gulf spill a year, for fifty years ... that's the situation on the Niger's delta ... Oil industry has brought poverty and pollution to Niger delta for years, and years, and years ...


AnAnonymous's picture

Nigeria's case isnt welcome here.

Word is that regulation caused the mess in the US. As Nigeria has little environmental regulation, their mess challenges the claim. Better to keep Nigeria out of the discussion as it disproves of the claim and might irritate people who want to keep claiming regulation is the main cause.

One guy on this site even came up with an answer crafted on purpose to keep supporting regulation is the main cause: the primary factor in the nigerian oil spill is locals trying to rob (crude by the way) oil to satisfy their needs. Of course, data tells another song... 

Millivanilli's picture
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa  Read it.  
Rusty Shorts's picture

"King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa"


 - great book !!  as it applies to the entire planet now.

ALPO's picture

Edit: Never-frigging-mind.

Cursive's picture


But didn't you get the memo that this is just like IXTOC?  It'll all be back to normal next year or the year after. (sarcasm off).  In the meantime, we're going to have the latest Snake Pliskin adventure:  Escape from Plaquemines Parish.

RobertShaw's picture

Great post, Snake.  I did not know that.  I wonder if BP drills there.  If so, that would have been a great question to trap Tony with, regards his safety record.  Of course he would just have said, "I don't know.  I was not there.  I had no part in that decision making process."

illyia's picture

Thanks for mentioning that.

Really. I mean it.


ZerOhead's picture

Sorry guys... but fuck the goddamn crabs for a minute and help me out.

GW... yes I talking to you!

I need to know why this plan will not work... It will introduce true democracy into our political process... I know it's outragious but I believe in may just do the trick and no-one has yet found a fatal flaw.

Please read! Please!


Careless Whisper's picture

@ snake

let's cut to the chase. they don't care about the environment or the people of the niger delta. they don't care about the gulf of mexico. they don't care about the small people, which is another word for peasants. that means YOU unless you are one of the elitisits, and you aren't. they. don't. care.  get it? there is greed in the world. get it? there is evil in the world. get it?