Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible drilling rig (oil rig) built in 2001. The purpose of this rig was to drill oil wells deep underwater, moving from location to location, as needed.
Unfortunately, Deepwater Horizon sank on April 22, 2010, as the result of an explosion two days earlier.
The sinking and resultant oil spill is turning out to be possibly the worst environmental disaster in American history!
As oil pouring from the well beneath the wrecked oil rig starts to reach the Louisiana coast, the damage could outstrip even the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.
Threats to the region’s rich coastal wildlife are a particular worry. The spill couldn’t have come at a worse time, with millions of migratory birds making landfall in Louisiana on their flights north from Mexico. Other bird species, including a large rookery of brown pelicans in the slick’s path on Breton Island, are at the height of their nesting season.
On a more optimistic note, marine mammals and deepwater fish should be able to swim to safety.