Aussie sailor seeks the truth behind the BP oil spill

17 August 2010

Shannon Lo Ricco, a lad from country Victoria, writes from his cabin on the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise. Shannon is a logistics co-ordinator on board a ship tour in the Gulf of Mexico. Along with a team of scientists, Shannon is asking the million-dollar question – ‘Where has all the oil from the BP spill gone?’

Greenpeace actions co-ordinator Shannon Lo Ricco on the Arctic SunriseWe dropped anchor early this morning off the Dry Tortugas National Park and I went ashore with the skipper Pete to discuss our plans for research dives with the park rangers.

A team of scientists from a university in Florida has joined Greenpeace on our expedition to investigate sponge and coral samples. They are looking for any traces of oil or oil-dispersant that may have passed through the area. Sponges are great indicators of what’s in the water because they filter vast amounts of water for their food and any foreign material accumulates in their bodies.

This expedition is aiming to find what can’t be seen but can be measured. The phase of seeing harrowing images of oiled pelicans and turtles appears to be over, but just because the oil is “out of sight” doesn’t mean to say it must be “out of our minds”.

My job is to prepare the boats and the dive gear so that the scientists can get on with their research. We’ve had a few issues with the winch they use to tow their instruments behind the ship to do plankton tows and flurometer readings. We have to fix it by Friday when we head out towards the site of the Deepwater Horizon spill, so the engineers and I have been desperately trying to fix it with what we have on board.

I’ve done all I can do today though. Now I’m sunburnt, exhausted and ready to slink into my bunk.

I’ll be sending more updates via the Greenpeace USA site throughout our Gulf expedition and reporting back more to this blog over the coming weeks.

So until next time,