HOUSTON (AP) --
A new containment vessel is partially linked to the gushing well head in the Gulf of Mexico, and officials say they'll know soon whether it's properly connected.
Retired Coast Guard Rear Adm. Thad Allen didn't indicate how
soon the Helix Producer could begin moving oil, but said Tuesday
the connection can be maintained unless severe weather moves in.
The 528-foot, nearly 2,300-ton vessel can collect up to 25,000
barrels of oil a day. That would double the amount being collected,
then burned or transferred to other tankers.
Allen says once the Producer is operational, officials will have
a better idea of how close their flow-rate estimates have been to
Those numbers will also help determine whether they should risk
replacing the current containment cap at the seafloor.
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