Thursday, June 3, 2010

Seriously, BP, what the #@!$?

This piece over at the Daily Kos is a must read (laced with profanity, most of it warranted). Apparently there's something called "booming" that's used to stop oil from reaching the shoreline after a spill.  Basically, it's a big plastic barrier (a floaty thing on top with a skirt that goes down into the water) that you string along the ocean a short distance from the shore.  Importantly, it's non-absorptive, it only acts as a barrier.  So, for booming to work, you have to funnel the oil into containment devices and empty them every day.  To funnel the oil toward the containment devices, you have to string the boom in a zig-zag pattern.  Here is an image from a profanity-free version of Booming101 explaining the concept.  I highly recommend you go to the Daily Kos article and get the original profanity-full version.

So that's how booming works.  BUT, all the media knows is that a big bright orange or yellow line of stuff is supposed to stop the oil.  So, stringing a big line of highly visible boom=good, even if it accomplishes nothing.  And so, that's what BP has done.  All along the Gulf.  (These images via the Daily Kos piece.)

Because it doesn't work, and they're not properly anchoring it, here's what's become of their booms:

Yup, that's oil washed ashore, along with the boom that was supposed to stop it.  See any catch basins?  Neither do I.

Having people properly trained in booming, enough boom and anchors to accomplish the job, and a readily available system to deploy said items is the bare minimum we can expect from a company digging gigantic holes in the bottom of our oceans.  This is shameful.

For more on BP's supreme a*holery, I hope you've been following @BPGlobalPR on twitter for an incredibly caustic stream of what must be going through BP exec's heads.  Gizmodo has a piece by the man behind the tweets, with a few choice words for how BP could manage the crisis instead of managing their brand:
You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand?  Have a respectable brand.  Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions.  Lead the pack!  Evolve!  Don't send hundreds of temp workers to the gulf to put on a show for the President.  Hire those workers to actually work!  Don't dump toxic dispersant into the ocean just so the surface looks better.  Collect the oil and get it out of the water!  Don't tell your employees that they can't wear respirators while they work because it makes for a bad picture.  Take a picture of those employees working safely to fix the problem.  Lastly, don't keep the press and the people trying to help you away from the disaster, open it up so people can see it and help fix it.  This isn't just your disaster, this is a human tragedy.  Allow us to mourn so that we can stop being angry.

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