While announcing the evacuation, Admiral Thad Allen, said that due to the obvious risk posed to the safety of almost 2,000 people who are working at the spill site, most of the rigs and vessels have been asked to leave the area from Thursday night, (July 22nd).
The Admiral said that this includes the rig drilling the relief well that will ultimately kill the well, as well as other vessels needed for containment. Work to kill the well permanently will resume once the storm passes but the cap that was successfully put in place a few days ago will remain, preventing the gushing of oil into the Gulf.
Allan further stated that, “I have also directed BP to take measures to ensure the vessels operating the ROVs [remotely operated underwater vehicles] are the last to leave, and the first to return in order to maximize monitoring of the well.”
A national emergency has already been declared in the state of Louisiana by Governor Bobby Jindal, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA), said that it is monitoring the movements of the storm and are already prepared to render assistance to the state, should the worst fears be realized.