Oil Pollution Incident
      Platform Charlie, Main  Pass
        Block 41 Field, Louisiana

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and progress in the control and abatement of pollution in our
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                     OIL POLLUTION INCIDENT


                              OAK STREET
                      NORWOOD,  NEW JERSEY 07648
                                for the
                       WATER QUALITY OFFICE
                       Project #15080  FTU

                       Contract #14-12-860
                            May 1971
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 - Price $1.25
                          Stock Number 5501-0130

                           EPA Review Notice
This report has been reviewed by the Water Quality Office, EPA, and
approved for publication.  Approval does not signify that the contents
necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental
Protection Agency, nor does mention of trade names constitute endorsement
or recommendation for use.

A documentation team from Alpine Geophysical Associates, Inc. observed
the Chevron spill incident and interviewed key personnel concerned.

The facts, observations and reports are included herein.

Little damage to the environment was observed, mostly due to a combination
of fortuitous circumstances.  Considerable knowledge was gained concerning
the physical limitations of spill control in open water.

This report was submitted in fulfillment of Prefect Number 15080 FTU,
Contract 14-12-860, under the (partial) sponsorship of the Water Quality
Office, Environmental Protection Agency.

                         TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1.0

Section 2.0

Summary and Conclusions
Regional Background
Source Description
Movement of the Oil
Control of the Oil
Property Damage
Biological Damage
Section 3.0  Regional Background
        3.1  Geographic and Demographic Setting
        3.2  Resources of Direct Economic Value
Section 4.0

Section 5.0
Regional Oil Production        ; .. , • •-,•
Brief History of Drilling
General Geology of Main Pass Area
General Data Regarding the Platform ,
General Petroleum Chemistry of this Field
Chronic Oil Spills <.                ,
Amount of Escaped Oil

Summary of Events
Section 6.0  Description, Movement and Behavior of the Oil
        6.1  Description of the Escaped Oil
        6.2  Movement and Behavior of the Escaped Oil
        6.0  References
Section 7.0
Section 8.0
Control of the Oil
Discussion of Operations
Barge Line
Recovery Equipment

Visual Surveillance
Instrumented Surveillance


 ' 4


 19 (





                         TABLE OF CONTENTS      (continued)


Section 9.0  Damage to Biological Resources                               65
        9.1  Biological Surveillance and Sampling Programs Carried Out    65
        9.2  Hazard Potential of Oil Spills on the Biological
             Resources of the Area                                        68
        9.3  Ecological Considerations                                    69
        9.4  Fate of the Spilled Oil                                      69
        9.5  Potential for Ecological Upset and Public
             Health Hazard                                                70
        9.6  Assessment of Damage to Biological Resources in the
             Breton Sound Area Due to the Current Oil Spill at
             Chevron MP41C Platform                                       71
        9.0  References                                                   73

Section 10.0  Acknowledgments                                              75

Appendix  A  Oceanography of the East Delta Area                          79

Appendix  B  Tabulation of Oceanographic, Meteorological, and
             Oil Slick Observation.                                       89

Appendix  C  Biological Resources                                         99

Appendix  D  Jurisdictional Factors Effecting Control of
             the Main Pass Block 41 Field                                129

Appendix  E  Regional Response Team (RRT)                                133

                          LIST OF FIGURES
Figures          ,                                            Page

   1              Location Map                              10-11  (
   2              Success Ratios                              16 ,
   3              Oil Flow                                    22 I
   4              Slickbar Boom                               44
   5              T-T Boom                                    45
   6              J-M Spillguard Boom                         46
   7              Kain Boom                                   47
   8              Navy Boom                                   48
   9              Line of Containment Barges                  50
  10              Altenberg Skimmer Detail                    53
  11              Infrared Scan Record                        62
  12              Infrared Scan Record                        63
  13              Chart of Sampling Locations               66-67
  14              Local Circulation                         80-81
  15              Oceanic Circulation                         83
  16              Oceanographic Observations                  90
  17              Oceanographic Observations                  91
  18              Oceanographic Observations                  92
  19              Oceanographic Observations                  93
  20              Oceanographic Observations                  94
  21              Oceanographic Observations                  95
  22              Oceanographic Observations                  96
  23              Oceanographic Observations                  97
  24              Oceanographic Observations                  98
  25              Biological Resources                      100-101
  26              Postlarval Catch                            11*'
  27              The Chapman Line                            130

                        LIST OF TABLES
Table                                                      Page
  1             Well Summary MP41C                           18
  2             Crude Petroleum Analysis                     20
  3             Fishes of the Delta                         104
  4             Dollar Value for Pelts and Meat             119
 : 5             Invertebrate and Vertebrate Animals
                  Collected in Coastal Study Area II        123

                        1.0  INTRODUCTION
For roughly eight weeks (February 10 to March 31, 1970), wells on the
Chevron Oil Company platform Charlie in the Main Pass Oil Field (MP41C)
were out of control, spewing crude oil and natural gas into the air
from the platform level.  For one month of this time, fire consumed
almost all the escaped oil.  When the fire was extinguished on March
10, oil began escaping onto the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  All the
wells were brought under control by March 31, three weeks later, ending
the oil spillage.

On March 21, the Federal Water Quality Administration (FWQA) contracted
with Alpine Geophysical Associates, Inc. to document the observed and
potential pollution effects, and pollution control efforts connected
with the above casualty for the purpose of preparing a timely report.
The objective was to put a small multi-discipline team of scientists
and engineers in the field to make observations and conduct interviews
with participants in the casualty, while the events were still freshly
in mind.

For the most part, the information presented herein is culled from
interviews with Federal, State and local agencies involved in the
casualty or with the resources of the area.  Off-the-record interviews
were held with a representative of the Chevron Oil Company.  Informa-
tion was culled from numerous technical publications, newspapers and
from public records.  The scope of the work precluded original
research, however, some original conclusions were necessarily reached
by the Documentation Team, as this report was prepared prior to the
release of the results of many of the researchers working on the

Numerous photographs were taken by the Documentation Team, some of
which are presented in the report.

This is the second casualty report of this type, sponsored by FWQA,
the first being a documentation of the Santa Barbara Spill.(1)

                        1.0  REFERENCES
(1)  Battelle Northwest, July, 1969,  "Review of Santa Barbara Channel
Oil Pollution Incident" Water Pollution Control Research Series,  DAbi

                     2.0  SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
2.1  Regional Background

The Main Pass Field is located off the Louisiana coast roughly 10 miles
east of the Mississippi Delta.  The Delta is an extensive low-lying
swampy region laced with innumerable waterways.  The principal economic
asset of the region is petroleum and petroleum products; with the
exploitation of biological resources, such as commercial fishing, hunting
and trapping, running far behind.

The area is used extensively for recreational hunting and fishing and
there are numerous private camps for those purposes; but there are no
developed bathing beaches, resort hotels, or "high priced" vacation homes.

Both the Delta and the offshore areas have many active oil fields with
oil rigs and structures visible everywhere.  A complex pipeline network
runs along the water bottom.  There is a good deal of activity associated
with these fields; vessels, helicopters, drill rigs, etc., as well as a
noticeable amount of chronic oil pollution from these oil field structures
and activities.

The Delta waters, and particularly the Breton and Chandaleur Sound areas
are recognized as vital spawning and nursery grounds for many of the
commercial, sports, and non-exploited fish, shellfish and other marine
plants and animals of the Gulf of Mexico.  The Delta lands and islands
are important habitats for birds (both migratory and local), mammals and
other animals.  There are a number of important State and Federal wild-
life refuges and sanctuaries in the area.

2.2  Source Description

Block 41 of the Main Pass Field was reportedly producing roughly 65,000
bbls. per day of oil and 100 million cu.  ft. per day of gas before the
fire.  Platform Charlie (MP41C) with five of its 12 wells active, was
producing about 3,000 bbls. per day of oil and 1.1 million cu. ft. per
day of gas.  Production was from two Miocene sands at about 6,000 feet and
9,000 feet.

The oil produced was an extremely light gravity &bout 36 API) paraffin
based crude and appears brownish in color as it comes out of the well.
Oil/gas separation is done on the platform, with the oil/water and gas
pumped separately ashore to refineries.  The platform was completely
automated (unmanned).

The total amount of oil spilled on the water in this incident, is estimated
by the Documentation Team to be between 35,000 and 65,000 barrels; roughly
equivalent to the amount spilled at Santa Barbara during a similar time
period (3veeks), and an order of magnitude less than that carried by a
supertanker the size of TORREY CANYON.


2.3 Events

Platform MP41C caught fire accidentally on February 10, 1970.  Eight wells
were "wild" and burning on this platform for one month (until March 10th)
while concentrated efforts were made to extinguish the fire.

Serious oil pollution started several days before the fire was extinguished
when large quantities of water were played on the fire to cool the plat-
form.  Pollution continued until March 31st, when the last wild well was
brought under control.

When the casualty occurred, the Regional Contingency Plan was activated;
however, since the Chevron Oil Company assumed full responsibility for
the control and clean-up of the spilled oil, the Regional Response Team
was placed on stand-by status to observe and advise pnly^

A massive logistic effort was initiated by Chevron to mobilize vessels,
equipment, personnel, and supplies, shortly after the fire started; when
oil pollution started, a considerable control force was in operation.

Fire at the platform was a constant hazard due to the presence of gas
and the volatile fractions of the crude oil.  Several times after March 10
the platform burst into flames which were quickly extinguished by water
jets.  No serious injuries to personnel were reported as a result of the
casualty in spite of the hazardous work of capping the wells and controlling
the fire and pollution.                                               ,

2.4  Movement of the Oil

Platform MP41C stands in about 40 feet of water in an area of complex
interactions between the turbid fresh waters of the Mississippi River
and the saline shelf waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  During the spill,
the river was high, nearing flood.  The winds were generally rotating
with occasional frontal systems giving sustained winds from a single

Oil and gas blew out of the wells at platform level forming large air
plumes, some of which were deflected downward.  High pressure water jets
containing dispersants, hit the oil in the air and on and under the plat-
form.  As the oil moved away from the platform it took on these easily
distinguished modes.
1.  A narrow reddish-brown surface string of thick oil thought to be a
water-in-oil emulsion or "mousse".

2.  A Widening surface plume or "slick" with characteristic oil film
colors depending on local thickness.

3.  A widening creamy yellow sub-surface plume, thought to be an oil-
in-water emulsion formed by chemical dispersion of the oil.

The mechanism of oil movement prevailing at the time of the casualty can


be found in Section 6.2, Movement and Behavior of the Escaped Oil.  To
summarize:  (1) Wind was the major factor controlling surface movement;
(2) certain oceanographic phenomena provided barriers protecting areas
of the land mass.

The oil was never reported to have reached the Delta, and was stopped at
least on one occasion by the fresh water barrier  (rip).  Oil reached the
vicinity of the islands on several occasions, but only one instance of
any large amount on the beaches is reported.  No oil is reported to have
reached the back bays of Breton Sound presumably having been flushed by
natural currents from the Sound on the two occasions that it was observed
to have reach the Sound.

The older slicks were not observed for long after a wind shift.  It is
felt that the shifting winds combined with natural dispersion, a high
rate of evaporation and biodegradation, was responsible for the rapid
disappearance of the oil, and the prevention of the build-up of an oil
"sea".  It is not known how much oil was effectively dispersed by
chemicals at the platform and put into the water column, nor what the
ultimate destination or fate of this emulsion was.  Most of the surface
oil is thought to have moved seaward, caught up in the eastern Gulf of
Mexico circulation loop and carried to the ESE.  A considerable amount
of the water-in-oil emulsion or "mousse", was picked up by skimmer boats
in good weather, or dispersed by prop wash in both good and moderate

2.5  Control of the Oil

Chevron had mobilized a force of approximately 60 vessels, 250 men and
a large amount of equipment and chemicals, spending an estimated 2.5
million dollars for pollution control alone.

2.5.1  Mechanical

A first line of defense consisting of an anchored barge line with con-
tainment booms and skimmers to protect the islands and bays had little

The second line of defense, made up of chase-skimmer boats and a skimmer
barge, was more successful, as was a later mobile system made up of two
500 lengths of "Navy" boom held by tugs in a "Vee" with a skimmer boat at
the apex.  Eight or nine vessels were used to disperse heavy ropes of oil
with propeller wash.

The third line of defense made up of fast, shallow draft boats, light-
weight booms, and straw barges with mulchers; mobilized to protect and
clean up the back bays of Breton Sound was only partially utilized in a
clean up and stand-by operation on Breton Island.

The best of the mechanical containment and skimmer devices used are
generally considered to have been quite effective in 1-2 foot seas, 50%
effective in 3-4 foot seas, and essentially useless in anything rougher.

The best of these devices were "home made" by Chevron at the scene.

After initial attempts to contain all the oil around the clock, control
efforts were limited to daylight efforts in good weather only, and
directed at picking up or dispersing the heavy red-brown ropes of oil.

Two factors influenced the control operations significantly:

1.  The casualty occurred in an active oil producing area, where personnel,
heavy  marine equipment, and logistic support were readily available.

2.  The fire gave the control team sufficient working time to mobilize.  It
is estimated that there was at least a one-week lag between the commencement
of the logistic effort and the arrival at the site of any appreciable amount
of oil spill control equipment and specialists.

The mobilization effort dramatized the lack of available stand-by oil
pollution equipment capable of coping with a large disaster.

2.5.2.  Chemical

About 1,000 barrels of Corexit and 500 barrels of Cold Clean, both chemical
dispersants, were used at the platform as a safety measure.  Chemicals had
been disapproved for use as an  anti-pollution measure, however, Chevron
had USGS permission to use chemicals at the platform for hazard control.
The chemicals metered into the intake manifold of the jet barge and plat-
form pumps were thereby diluted to lower concentrations prior to applica-
tion on the oil.  (A maximum of 300 ppm. from the barge.)

The amount of chemicals used were capable of fully dispersing at least
7,500 barrels of oil based on a very conservative estimate of dispersion
rates (1 part chemical to 5 parts oil); and as applied, could have dispersed
considerably more than this amount, (manufacturer recommends 1 part chemical
to 10-50 parts oil).

2.6  Surveillance

Numerous over-flights by cognizant government agencies were made on a
routine basis, weather permitting, to make visual observations of  the
spill.  An aerial search for damaged wildlife and shore pollution was
also conducted.  Normal aircraft navigation was used and "eyeball"
estimates of slick length and width, etc., were made.  Chevron made
numerous surveillance flights and used a precise navigation system.

The U. S. Geological Survey initially made several test remote sensing
flights and then made routine aerial photography flights during the
entire incident, using a mobile tracking radar based in Venice for navi-
gation.  The U. S. Coast Guard in cooperation with NASA made  a series  of
simultaneous remote measurements during the daylight and dark of March  16.
Remote Sensing, Inc. of Houston, Texas, also made a number of multi-sensor
flights over a period of several days.

Most of the remote data taken is considered to be of high quality, but
this information was not available to the control team in near-real time.
All groups apparently just flew patterns along the "newest" slick, with
no attempt made to delineate older slicks,  or slicks from other opera-
tions in the area.
The only reported damage  to land occurred on Breton Island,  (oil on
beaches and in lagoons, March 3rd and March 16th), which was subsequently
observed to be completely cleaned up and restored to its original

Damage to vessels has not been  reported, except for some isolated net
damage in the shrimp fleet, and some dirty sails among the yachtsmen
sailing offshore.

It was reported  that sales of Louisiana shellfish and fish declined
during the period of the  spill  because of buyer fear of obtaining off-
taste food.  No  evidence  has been reported of real damage to sea food.

2 • 8  Biological  Damage^

From reported gross observations and data gathered by local and federal
agencies, there  is little or no evidence of any acute biological problems
which were precipitated by this oil spill.  No reports were found of fish,
birds or other animals killed by this spill.

The shrimp, oyster, crab  and menhaden fisheries suffered no reported
acute damages, although a number of law suits by fishermens groups have
been initiated against Chevron  for alleged specific damages to the
fisheries.  The  potential of a  public health hazard due to sudden
enrichment of the area with spilled oil, leading to the formation of
blooms of noxious organisms has been postulated.

What is still to be determined, however, are the possible long-term
ecological effects of acute exposure to the polluting oil and chemical
residues in the  area.

                     3.0  REGIONAL BACKGROUND
3.1  Geographic and Demographic Setting

Chevron's Main Pass Block 41 oil field is located in the Gulf of Mexico
east of the Mississippi River delta.  The closest point on the mainland
from Platform Charlie is the Main Pass river mouth area 10 miles to
the southwest.  Breton Island lies about 9 miles northwest.  The
geographic coordinates of this platform are 29° 23' 59" North and 89°
00* 54" West.  According to Louisiana statutes this is within offshore
Plaquemines Parish.  The Mississippi-Gulf outlet canal termination is
immediately adjacent to the East.  Water depth is approximately 40 feet.
(See Figure  1 ).

Coastal areas in this region are largely deltaic, that is, low-lying
swampy areas characterized by mangrove growth with no clearly defined
shoreline.  Water and land are intermingled giving the effect of
literally thousands of tiny islands, water passages in a veritable maze,
and biological growth surpassed in few areas of the world.

Few people live in this immediate area.  The only centers of population
are largely supported by oil production and in  fact some are wholly-
owned by various major oil companies and their large contractors.
Venice, on the river north of the Main Pass, is the closest town.  The
few families living along the coastlines support themselves by fishing
and hunting.

The entire lower delta area suffered severe damages during hurricane
Camille in August, 1969.  Breton Island, Grand Cosier Island and other
offshore islands changed landform dramatically during the storm.

New Orleans, with a metropolitan population close to 1,000,000 is about
65 miles northeast of Platform Charlie.  It is the only city of any
size within this area.

3.2  Resources of Direct Economic Value

3.2.1  Mineral Resources

Oil is the primary natural resource of this area.  Plentiful production
is encountered both offshore and onshore all along the Louisiana
coastline.  Other mineral production includes sulfur, salt and sand
and gravel.

3.2.2  Commercial Fisheries

Of major importance in the state economy is the commercial fishing
undertaken in Louisiana waters.  In addition to edible and rough fish,
the oyster and shrimp production are both major industries.  See
Appendix C for a description of the biological resources.



*     I
%    i »»*      ;*.

                                                        LOCATION MAP

                                                     FIG. I

3.2.3  Lumber

Timber production for lumber, newsprint and naval stores is a major
industry of the area north of Lake Ponchatrain.

3-2.4  Recreational Resources

The coastal area of Louisiana does not have developed bathing beach
areas.  Swimming and related activities are limited.  The main water
related activities are yachting and fishing.  For information on sport
fishing, see below.  Recreational boating is mostly inshore, Lake
Pontchartrain, etc. or relatively far offshore.   Navigation in the
immediate onshore area is quite difficult because of the numerous
shifting shoal areas and the confused bay and island pattern.

3.2.5  Hunting and Fishing

The coastal areas are largely marsh, forming one of the great hunting
and sport fishing areas of the U. S.  Migratory water fowl are
abundant particularly during the winter months.   Some species hunted
are Mallard, Black Duck, Redhead, Canvas back, Greater Scaup, Lesser
Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Large Mergansers and Hooded
Mergansers.  Geese are represented by Canada Geese, Whitefront Geese,
Blue and Snow Geese.  In addition to waterfowl,  dove, wild turkey,
quail, woodcock and snipe are taken by sportsmen.

Deer hunting is best in the northern sections of the state but is
undertaken also in the delta areas.  Squirrel and rabbit are game
animals as well.

Recreational fishing is practiced both in fresh water, inshore in
brackish and salt water and offshore in shallow and deep water.

Sports fishermen in Louisiana take Bass, Bream, Crappie and catfish
in fresh water.  Shallow salt water fishing yields Sea trout, Red
Snapper, Flounder, Pompano, Bluefish, Specks, Lemonfish, Tarpon, Drum,
Sheepshead and Croaker.  Further offshore, catches include Marlin,
Dolphin, Swordfish, Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo and Amberjack.  Appendix C
contains additional information relating to hunting and fishing.

3.3.6  Summary of Biological Resources in the Immediate Area of the
Chevron Oil Platform MPC41

The area to the west of the MP41C platform consists of extensive
brackish water marshes which serve as major bird feeding and resting
grounds in addition to being a valuable public sport hunting area.  To
the west and north are refuge areas for birds and other local animals
which also serve a public natural parklands.  Northwest of  the rig lie
the most important oyster seed beds in the State serving the Louisiana
commercial oyster fisheries, and north of the rig are extensive bird
sanctuary areas serving migratory bird populations  in the northern


hemisphere.  The inshore waters serve as nursery grounds for shrimp and
menhaden which support a part of the extensive local commercial shrimp
and fish meal industries.  In the deeper waters and surrounding many of
the rigs, are substantial concentrations of snapper, pompano and other
species which support a large local sport fishing industry.  In
addition, the Chevron oil platform is located in the area of major
shrimp and menhaden harvests for the fishing fleets operating out of
Venice and Empire, Louisiana.

A  full description of the biological resources of the East Delta area
is given in Appendix C of this report.

                   4.0  REGIONAL OIL PRODUCTION
*•!  Brief History of Drilling

The first offshore well in Louisiana waters was drilled in March, 1938
in the area now known as the Creole Field, about 1.5 miles from the
coast line.  Significant development of offshore hydrocarbon deposits
did not commence until November, 1947, when the Ship Shoal Block 32
field was found about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast line. (1)

Widespread development of these offshore resources did not take place
until, in 1953, the Submerged Lands Act and the Outer Continental Shelf
Lands Act were passed.  (Appendix D of this report elaborates the
jurisdictional aspects of the offshore fields.)  In spite of the costly
and difficult problems of operating offshore, there has been a rapid
movement to offshore provinces.  Two reasons for the shift to the Gulf
are the success ratios (Fig.  2 ) and the reserves found.  From 1953
to 1967, the average success ratio for exploratory wells drilled in
the Gulf of Mexico was 26%, compared with a ratio for onshore wells
of about 18%.

From 1955 through 1966, the cumulative production of crude oil and
condensate was about 1.3 billion bbls.  Simultaneously, there was a
2.35 billion bbls. cumulative increase in the reserves, which amounted
to about 50% of the total U. S. increase.

The Main Pass Block 41 Field was leased by Chevron in August, 1947.
The discovery well was drilled in January, 1957, and the first
production was in April, 1957.  As of February, 1968, there were 151
oil wells, 14 gas wells, 26 dry holes and 14 other wells in the field.
Cumulative production tfc January 1, 1967 was 14,453,717 bbls. of oil,
8 bbls. of condensate, 14,923,569 Mcf of Casinghead gas and 14,849,015
Mcf of natural gas.

4.2  General Geology of Main Pass Area

No publications on the geology of the Main Pass Block 41 Field have
been found.  The State of Louisiana records indicate that below plat-
form MP41C there are two main producing zones, one at about 6,200 ft.
and one at about 9,200 to 9,700 feet, both of Miocene age.

Main Pass Block 41 Field is a shallow anticline partially fault-
controlled, according to informal reports.

The Gulf Coastal plain, a segment of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic coastal
geosyncline of Eastern North America, is a tremendous wedge of
generally southward dipping sediments.  Cenozoic rocks are generally
deltaic nearshore.  Fluviatile, marginal, and deltaic sediments grade
gulfward into darker facies, principally clays, carbonates and fine
sands.  The principally clastic nature of those deposits reflects


1954   1955  1956   1957   1958  1959   I960  1961   1962  1963   1964   1965  1966   1967
                        FIGURE 2 -SUCCESS  RATIO

continued orogeny in the cordillera of Western North America.  More
than 25,000 feet of sediments accumulated in this period.

During the Miocene period more than 20,000 feet of arenaceous,
argillaceous sediments accumulated in this basin.  These rocks are also
deltaic - fluviatile in character, grading to thick marine shales,
marls and sandstones offshore.

The continuity of these strata is interrupted by major systems of
normal strike faulting, down warping of isostatic adjustments and by
piercement salt domes and deep seated salt ridges.  The throw of the
faults can range up to 6,000 feet with variable orientation.

The presence of igneous rocks  (of the Mesozoic) is important because
porosity developed by alteration of basalts to serpentine can serve as
a reservoir for hydrocarbons.

The fault systems are quite commonly interrupted by salt domes,
suggesting that the domes may'have been positioned at depth by the
faults and that they grew in those zones in association with weaknesses
created by the faulting and the great increases in sedimentation which
occur across many of the fault zones.

The entire Miocene-Pliocene sequence is characterized by rapid
thickening Gulfwards of individual units and by equally rapid
lithologic changes.

Hydrocarbon accumulations are  found in many beds of this sequence.
Traps are formed structurally  by folding, mainly in diapiric folds,
around the flanks of salt domes, where the piercement dome acts as a
cap rock, stratigraphically where lithologic changes serve as a
reservoir with a cap rock of the same age but different in lithology
and along faults.

Commonly, the area west of the delta is characterized by circular fields
associated with salt domes.  East of the delta folding and faulting
seem to be the common field control.

4.3  General Data Regarding the Platform

Previous to the fire of 10 February, the Chevron platform at Main Pass
Block 41 was a typical non-attended offshore production platform.  The
platform was the termination  for 22 wells - 10 dual completions and 2
single satellites - of which only 5 were in production at the time of
the accident.  The platform (56 X 71 ft.) was supported on cylindrical
piling in about 40 feet of water, and consisted of a center section
where the well casings terminated, and two opposing cantilevered
sections.  One of these sections contained a compressor, and the other
supported a helicopter platform and separator equipment.  These wells,
previous to the time of the fire, were producing about 3000bbIs. of
oil and 1.1 million cu. ft. of gas per day (Table  1 ) or about 5% of


                                                        TABLE  1  (4)

                                            Summary of Wells on Platform MP41C

Well &
Production Net Oil Choke Sand & Tubing
Zone Production in 64ths H-/0 Pressure
670 18 C 1000
770 18 C 1700
265 20 C 150
959 18 C 2175
265 10.5 C 1800
API Efficient Gas/Oil
Gravity Production Ratio REMARKS
34 1500

34 1500


28 130

35 1500

33 190







All Wells on Production were flowing by Reservoir Pressure
Total Maximum Efficient Production
Oil Production in Bbls./Day
Sand & H20:'  C » Clean
Gas/Oil Ratio: G/0 - Cu. Ft. Gas/BBl. of Oil

the total production of the entire Block 41 field  (65,000 b/d of oil
and 100 million cu. ft./day of gas)  (1).  The maximum efficient
production (MEP) rate as reported to the State of Louisiana in January,
1970 was 6,750 bbls per day.  The oil/gas separation was done on the
platform but no attempt was made to separate oil and water which were
pumped ashore together.

There is some unofficial indication that between the time of the last
State report and the casualty, the production picture on the platform
had changed from that described above.

^•^  General Petroleum Chemistry of this Field

The oil produced from Platform C varied in API gravity  from 28° to
35° with the heavier crude  from a shallow production zone.  According
to a Bureau of Mines analysis of Main  Pass Block 41 crude oil, the
percentages of various fractions present are given in Table 2.

This then  is a very light crude oil.   It will spread very rapidly on
a water surface and lose a  large part  of its volatile fractions to
evaporation or emulsification.  The  fractions forming a heavy slick
on water will probably be less than  70% of the total within a short
period of  time and may be as little  as 50% after 24 hours.  (5)
Evaporation in this case is accelerated by the blowing  out of the oil
into the air.  Being a paraffin base crude, the residuum will probably
not be as  viscous  as an asphalt base crude.  Asphalt, from Handbook of
Chemistry  Tables,  has a specific gravity of 1 to 1.8 and the residuum
could sink when all of the  volatiles are gone.  The paraffin residuum
in this crude will continue to float since no fraction  has a specific
gravity as high as water provided it is not sunk by other agents

4.5  Chronic Oil Spills

Spill incidents in the area, prior to  the fire on platform Charlie,
have not been individually  logged.   Spills varying in size from a few
gallons to many barrels are endemic  to the Gulf of Mexico.  One chronic
problem is when water/oil separation is done on the platform, some oil
remains in the water, and if dumped over the side produces a visable
slick.  In the land areas, waste water settling ponds are commonly used
to further separate the oil from the waste water, and in many of the
off-shore  platforms the waste water  is pumped ashore with the oil for
separation in the  refineries.  However, many near shore installations,
in the sounds and  back-bays were observed to pump oily  waste water

Oil appears on the Gulf waters from numerous other operations connected
with the drilling  the operation of the wells.  U. S. Coast Guard
reconnaissance flights report 3 to 7 pollution incidents every week,
and many of these  are identified with  the company or individual
responsible.  However, the  cause of each incident is not generally

                          TABLE  2  (5)

                   Crude Petroleum Analysis

                        Per Cent        &:J*Li.         .—^El-

Light Gasoline             2.0             0.701           70.3
Total Gasoline Naptha     15.8             0.766           5J.J
(including Light Gasoline)
Kerosene Distillate       12.1             0.811           43.1
Gas Oil                   23.5             0.845           36.1
Nonviscous Lubricating
Distillate                18.8       0.857-0.874      35.7-30.5
Medium Lubricating
Distillate                 9.6       0.874-0.885      30.5-28.4
Viscous Lubricating
Distillate                 1.4       0.885-0.886      28.4-28.1
Residuum                  18.7             0.928           21.0

documented and action to prevent a re-occurence is not often taken.

In addition to the chronic oil  spills  connected with oil production
operations, some surface oil spots reported in the Western Gulf of
Mexico are thought to be caused by natural oil seeps.  (2)

4.6  Amount of Escaped_jOjLL

In all major spills, the amount of oil spilled is perhaps the most
disputed statistic.  In this incident, published estimates have run
from 1,000 barrels per day to 3,000 barrels per day.

The actual amount of oil spilled will  probably never be accurately
known, however, there are ways  to estimate it.  Reference is made to
Table 1, copied from State records, which lists among other data
the net oil production  (N.O.P.), and the maximum efficient production
 (M.E.P.) for each well on the platform that was producing at that
time*  Eight of these wells  are known  to have been wild after the

Fig. 3 graphically indicates the sums  of the M.E.P., and the N.O.P.
for the period after the fire was extinguished  (March 10) and shows
a decrease as the successive wells were shut down.  The total M.E.P.s
is taken as the maximum possible flow  and the sum of the N.O.P. as the
minimum.  The reasoning for  this is developed in the following para-
graphs .

Theoretically, if the tops of the ''Christmas trees" (control head of
the wells) were removed, oil would flow through the well tubing at
a rate determined by the diameter of the tubing, the pressure of the
production zone and various  friction effects along the whole length of
the tubing.  The allowable production  is controlled by a choke (in the
case of MP41C» the chokes are about 1/4 inch diameter).  The tubing on
most of these wells is 2-3/8 inches, some a bit larger.  The maximum
efficient production rate for a well in simple terms is the rate at
which the well can flow without a marked loss of reservoir pressure.

It was reported that tests after the casualty was under control, showed
no significant loss of pressure in the MP41C wells, and this is taken
to mean that the total M.E.P. for the  wells was not exceeded.  This
total is the high number plotted in Figure 3.

The low number is developed by  assuming that the production choke in
the well head remained intact,  and that oil escaped at the allowable
rate.  It is not known if this  was or  was not the case in this incident
(the valves presumably being also intact under those circumstances but
inoperable due to heat deformation).   Certainly when the well heads
were blown off to facilitate capping of the tubing, this was not true.
If this number is accepted as the minimum possible flow, one has to
qualify it somewhat by the reduced flow of oil, particularly in C-6
during the flow of water and mud from  the bottom relief well.


2   5.0
5   3.0
            T	1	T


.*_  _

 =2!   §:
 2   8
•o»  _~
 i   i
 o  o
                    #. Q>




                    i    i    i   i    i    i   i   i    i   i    i    i

                       20                                  30

    -•— Maximum efficient production

    -••—Daily allowable rate
                                                                      FIG. 3

The above reasoning leads to a maximum figure of roughly 65,000 barrels
and a minimum of 35,000 barrels of oil escaped during the period March
10 through March 31, or from the time the fire was extinguished to the
time the wells were completely shut down.  This minimum number is
somewhat higher than an unofficial oil company estimate of 20,000
barrels.  The estimates average for the above period roughly 1,000
to 3,000 barrels per day and confirm the published figures.

As a matter of interest, the maximum figure is an order of magnitude
less than the oil  carried by TORREY CANYON class vessels, and is about
the same order of  magnitude spill for a comparable period of the Santa
Barbara incident.

                          4.0  REFERENCES

1.  Weaver, L.K., C. J. Tirik, H.  F.  Pierce.   "Impact of Petroleum
Development in the Gulf of Mexico", U. S. Bureau of Mines Information,
Circular #8971

2.  "Gulf of Mexico", 1954, U. S.  Dept.  of Int., Fish & Wildlife
Service, Bull. 89, P. 79-81

3.  Personal Communication, J. Lowenhaupt, Deputy Regional Supervisor,
Oil & Minerals Branch, U.S.G.S., New Orleans,  May 19, 1970

4.  State of Louisiana Department  of  Conservation, Public Records

5.  Blokker, Dr. P. C., 1964.  "Spreading & Evaporation of Petroleum
Products on Water", Paper presented to the 1964 International Harbor
Conference (Antwerp).

6.  U.S. Bureau of Mines, Bartlesville Laboratory, Crude Petroleum

                        5.o  NUMMARY OF EVENTS

5.1  General

This section is a synopsis of the Situation Reports (SITREPS) of several
Federal Agencies' and newspaper articles, and is included to give the
reader a quick review of events at the spill.

At approximately 3, a.m. on February 10, 1970, a fire occurred on Chevron's
Platform Charlie in the Main Pass Block 41 field.  Since this was a
completely automated platform, the incidents leading up to the fire were
not observed.  A service man had been on the platform at about 2:30 a.m.
of that day.

An initial attempt to control the fire was made by two Halliburton
vessels, equipped with monitor nozzles. (1)  When it became apparent that
this was not successful, it was decided to call in Paul "Red" Adair and
his team.

Estimates of the possible duration of the fire, even at this time, ranged
up to more than a week, mainly because it would be necessary to construct
an auxiliary platform to serve as a working base at the site.

The U. S. Coast Guard assigned a vessel to remain at the scene to provide
assistance as necessary and to provide a base for the representative from
the office of the Captain-of-the-Port, New Orleans, who was acting as
On-Scene Commander.(2)

At a meeting with the U. S. Coast Guard and State officials in New Orleans
on February llth, Chevron assumed responsibility for control and clean up
of the wild wells.  On this basis, the USCG and the other Federal agencies
represented would act in an advisory and observational capacity only.

Oil company personnel immediately started building and assembling equip-
ment to be used to be used to fight the fire, control the wells and to
pick up the spilled oil.

Consultants brought in to assist included Mr. William Altenberg, Altenberg,
Kirk and Company, Portland, Maine; skimmer and pollution control expert;
Mr. Silcox, engineering consultant from California; and Mr. Curtiss Wright,
representative of Johns-Manville.

Mr. Harlan Wood of the Department of the Interior, Public Information Office
said that pollution experts estimated that 1,871 bbls. of oil per day were
being consumed by the fire.(3)  This estimate apparently was made before
a determination was made of what wells were involved.

Equipment arrived at Venice each day during this period in preparation
for controlling the fire and the oil slick which would result when the
fire was extinguished.  Meanwhile, almost all of the escaping petroleum


was burned as it arrived at the surface, the only residue being some ash
and carbon from the fire.(4)

Bad weather delayed construction and placement of the auxiliary work
platform until the 24th of February.  Meanwhile the work barge,
JIAFRA and the derrick barge, GEORGE R. BROWN, were at the site.  The
JIAFRA was previously rigged with pumps and monitor nozzles (used as
a pipeline jet barge) and was utilized on this job to spray cooling water
on the burning structure.  The cooling effect precipitated some petroleum
which formed occasional small slicks around the platform.

Bad weather delayed preparations to extinguish the fire on February 25th
and 26th.  However, it was announced that blasting to control the fire
would take place on March 1st.  By this time, Chevron had established most
of their "first line of defense"--the barge and boom semi-circle about
1,500 feet from the rig.

Permission was received from USGS on the 27th of February, 1970 to use ^
chemical dispersants on and under the platform in order to reduce the fire
hazard after the fire was extinguished.

The attempt to blow out the fire was again postponed on March 1st because
of difficulties in rigging the protective water sprays on the work plat-

Chevron had available and in position by March 3rd the drill rigs,
MR, ARTHUR and PENRQD 51.  These were scheduled to drill relief holes to
the producing formation to kill the flow of some of the wild wells.  The
drill barge, S-66, was scheduled to arrive on March 4th.

Some oil reached shore on Breton Island on March 4th.  This was estimated
at 20 bbl. but was not positively identified as originating at the
Chevron incident.

On this date all containment and control equipment was in position and
the control effort was scheduled for March 5th.  Unfavorable weather
forced postponement again on March 5th and the weather continued bad
until the first blowout attempt was made on March 9th.  The fire re-ignited
in 6 minutes from some unknown cause.  Initial estimates said about 1,000
bbl./day of oil were escaping while the wells were extinguished.(2)

The next attempt scheduled for the following morning, March 10th, was
successful.  USCG and USGS situation reports show that the fire was
extinguished at about 11:30 a.m.  The boom line was reported to be holding
successfully until about 12:30 p.m. but oil had passed this line by 3 p.m.
and the skim boats and barges were in use.  According to other observers,
the barge line was not effective when the fire was  extinguished due to
unrepaired wave damage.

On March llth, the oil slick was estimated to be moving north, northwest
at 0.8 to 0.9 knots.  The skim barge was relatively effective but could
not cope with the amount of oil coming out of the well.  Bad weather was


moving in but the wind was  shifting  to  the north blowing  the oil offshore.

Secretary Hickel flew over  the  scene of the  spill  on March  12th.   uSCG
reports that a bird  survey  of the  Chandeleur island Chain counted  16,000
birds.  Skimmers were not in use because of  bad weather.

The  first wells were closed in  on  March 13th.   Well C-ll  died  at noontime
probably because it  sanded  up below  ground.   Well  C-10  was  capped  by  per-
sonnel on the platform at 4 p.m.

A  frontal passage  produced  high winds and seas damaging or  destroying most
of the containment booms in,use around the  rig.

USCG reports on March  14th  show dispersants, i:Cold-Clean' and  COREXIT
being used  to  reduce fire hazard.  The detergent  chemicals  help  to clean
the  rig surfaces and to  break up the oil into fine droplets.   Well C-9
was  killed  by mud  pumped down one  of the relief holes drilled  near
Platform C.  Well  C-3  also  ceased  flowing on March 14th either because  it
sanded up or  from  the  relief well  effects.

Shell Oil Company's  experimental chemical,  "Oil Herder",  was tested during
this period.   Results  of the testing showed that  the  chemical  had  to
contact the water  surface before, it  contacts oil in order to be  effective.
The  results of  the tests were  inconclusive  as it  was  thought that  chemical
dispersants used at  the  platform had an adverse, effect  on the  "Oil Herder  ,

Skimmers worked  during the  daylight  hours of March 14th,  collecting 2,400
bbls. of oil-x^ater emulsion.  According to USGS reports,  about 5,700  bbls.
of emulsion had  been skimmed to this date.   These, and  the  following  pick-
up estimates  are  from  the  boats and  have not been confirmed.

Well C-l was  capped  from the platform on March 15th  in  the  afternoon.
During  the  day  skimmers  were reported to have collected 2,800  bbls. of
emulsion.   All  barges  in the containment line were back in  position with
booms.  The skim barge was  being used between barges  3  and  4.

During March  16, weather conditions  deteriorated to the point  where
skimmers could not work.  Bad weather continued through the 17th,  in-
cluding a  squall  line  which virtually destroyed the barge boom line.  A
survey was  undertaken  in the Breton  National Waterfowl  R.efuge  which
showed  that no  harm  had  been incurred.

On March 18th,  the barges damaged  on the previous day were  taken to Venice
for  repair.   The weather was foggy but 1,000 bbls. of emulsion reportedly
were skimmed.

Well C-8 was  controlled  on  March 19th at 1 p.m.  The well head was shot
off  and the storm  choke  came into  operation.  The skim  boats and barge
were said  to  have  picked up 2,100  bbls. of  emulsion on  this day  for
a  total to  date of 15.5  thousand bbls.

By March 20th,  The Louisiana State University, Coastal  Studies Institute


team of Dr. Murray, Dr. Smith and Dr. Sonu completed their studies around
the platform.  Skimmers were working and picked up 2800 bbls. of emulsion
according to reports.

The USCG situation reports give test figures of better than 50% oil in
the recovered emulsion.

An analysis of the skimmer operation was made on March 21st showing an
overall efficiency of 11% for the barge and 8.3% for the boats in per-
centage of oil in total liquid recovered.(2)

No skimming was possible on March 22nd due to high wind and seas.  No
change occurred on the platform until March 24th when Well C-2 was capped
at 2:30 p.m.  Skim boats worked on March 23rd, picking up 2800 bbls. of
emulsion and on March 24th with 1900 bbls. collected.

On March 25th, the last uncontrolled well, C-6, re-ignited spontaneously
but was almost immediately extinguished by water sprays.  No skimming was
possible on this day or on March 26th, 27th or 28th.  During most of this
period high seas were breaking up and dispersing the oil slick.

C-6 again re-ignited on March 28th at 9:03 p.m. and burned until extinguished
with water at 3:10 a.m. on March 29th.  It again ignited at 2:30 p.nu and
was extinguished at 3:00 p.m.  No injuries were sustained during the periods
of re-ignition.  Skim boats worked on March 29th collecting 2900 bbls. of

Two relief wells had been drilled to the producing vicinity of C-6 by this
time and the platform crew was attempting to cap the well.  No change was
seen until March 30th when the flow volume was gradually reduced by the
fluids being pumped down a relief well.

Well C-6 was finally controlled at 7:20 a.m. on March 31st when the flow
was stopped by the relief well fluids.  All wells were capped and checked
by April 1st and 2nd and the pollution control center was secured.

                          5.0  REFERENCES
1.  New Orleans "States-Item" February 11, 1970, Times-Picayune
Publishing Corporation, New Orleans, Louisiana.

2.  U. S. Coast Guard Situation Reports COTPNO to Cmdr. Div. 8
February - March 1970.

3.  New Orleans "States-Item" February 13, 1970.

4.  U. S. Geological Survey Situation Reports New Orleans representative
to FWQA February - March, 1970.

5.  Personal Communication:  Mr. Jerry T.Thornhill, Federal Water
Quality Administration, Dallas, Texas.


This section is composed primarily of interpretations of visual observa-
tions and photos made by the Documentation Team, and are included to
provide background information  to others working with data and samples
from the spill.

6.1  Description of the Escaped Oil

The oil escaping from the wells blew out into the air from the platform
level.  The air plume of the major producer, Well C-6, was a dull brown
color.  This well was covered by a baffle for part of the time, which
deflected the oil downward under the platform.  The other major well,
C-2, blew a yellow plume high into the air.  Water mixed with chemical
dispersants was sprayed on the  oilr the platform, and the water by high
pressure monitors mounted on the jet barge, JIAFRA, and in the auxiliary
work platform.

The oil took on three basic modes once clear of the platform:

a)  The most noticeable was a bright reddish-brown band of thick oil
roughly 10 feet wide, extending for many miles and taking on various
ropey configurations if left to itself.  These ropes of oil remained
roughly the same width regardless of distance from the platform.  This
appears in the aerial photographs as described, and is seen as a white
(warm) line in the IR scanner records made in the daytime (Fig. 11).

It is felt that this is the "mousse" or water-in-oil emulsion described
in previous oil spill reports.  It is not known whether this is an effect
of the chemicals used, or is due to the high pressure water hitting the
oil, or both.

It is this oil that the containment and skimmers operations concerned
themselves with almost exclusively.

b)  The next aspect was the oil slick itself.  This varied in color from
dull gray, to irridescent, to a silvery sheen.  This was the widening
surface  (two dimensional) plume or slick described in the situation
reports as the "rainbow", and had considerable variations in thickness
and appearance.  This shows up  to its' full width on the "UV" photos.
Narrower  (thicker) parts of it  show up black  (cool) on the IR records
(Fig. 11).

c)  The final major mode was a  creamy yellow  sub-surface plume
emanating from the platform.  This plume widens and diffuses with
distance from the platform.  It is felt that  this is an oil-in-water
emulsion with the oil dispersed into very fine droplets by the water-
chemical mix.

This yellow plume is in the upper water column  (fresh  turbid water only
several feet thick) and travels along with  this water body.  It  is seen
on certain days to end abruptly at a water boundary east of  the  platform,


where the fresher water meets the more saline Gulf waters.  It is not
known if the oil-in-water emulsion travels along the water boundary,
or if it enters the shoreward moving salt water which travels under the
thin layer of fresh water in this vicinity.  (See Appendix A for
oceanographic description of the area.)

All three of these oil units move from the platform in the same general
direction (that of the wind) with the ropey strings and the yellow plume
taking different positions relative to each other on different days, but
always associated with the wide slick.  This variation in position is
not unusual as one would expect that the ropey string would react
primarily to the wind direction, and the yellow subsurface plume would react
to a combination of wind driven currents and other currents.  The "rainbow"
slick would tend to grow from both these features as clean oil detaches
from either emulsion (oil-in-water, water-in-oil).

There were local variations in texture and color of the surface oil, the
most significant being large light brown oil lumps containing vegetation
and other debris, associated with a slick at the "rip"
where the river water meets the Gulf water.

This slick at the "rip" is believed to have formed when the wind blew
the oil  toward the west.  The "rip" acts as a barrier to the surface
water and oil, protecting the shores of the Delta.  It is not known how
much wind is necessary to overcome this barrier.  The oil slick elongates
along the direction of the "rip" and stays in close contact with the
river water.

A number of these oil "varieties" were sampled by FWQA.  It is felt
that much of value can be learned concerning the fate of the oil on the
water from proper testing of these samples, and correlation with the
airborne data.

6.2  Movement and Behavior of the Escaped Oil

Reference is made to Appendix B of this report for a tabulation of
meteorological, oceanographic, and slick description data during the
period of this oil spill; and to Appendix A which discusses the oceano-
graphy of the East Delta region.

Based on field observations of the,oil and preliminary examination Of
the aerial photos, the Documentation Team has reached the following

a.  The  wind direction, strength, and duration determined the direction
and distance of travel of the surface and sub-surface oil plumes from
the platform.  This was modified by tidal currents, and other circula-
tion features.

b.  The  major fresh-salt water boundary, the "rip"—a convergence zone,
along the eastern side of the Mississippi Delta acted as an effective
barrier  to surface oil driven from the platform westward toward the


There was a temporary or intermittent boundary  to the east of the
platform which appeared as a sharp  change  in  turbidity.  When the oil
plume extended eastward, this boundary, when  present, was found to be
a barrier to the oil suspended  in the sub-surface (brackish) layer.
However, the plume of oil floating  on the  surface readily crossed it
with little or no distortion.

c.  No effective water barrier  exists between the platform and the
islands and sounds, however, a  net  outward flow due to the river
discharge tends to flush the sounds as do  other factors.

d.  With winds from the north or west, the circulation pattern of fresh
and brackish surface water moving from the sounds seaward helps flush
the sounds and protect the back bays.

e.  Winds from the south or east drive oil towards and into the sounds;
however, they set up the secondary  circulation  system, which also
flushes the surface waters from the sound  toward the sea, again
protecting the back bays.

f.  The condition of chronic oil spills in the  area, along with the
tremendous amount of "nutrients" brought down the Mississippi River
maintains a large seed population of oil degrading organisms in this
vicinity.  These organisms appear to act quite  rapidly in the biograda-
tion of the oil from this spill.(1)

Since preparation of this review, a report and  analysis of oceanographic
observations made during the period of the spill was prepared under
contract to the U. S. Coast Guard by the Coastal Studies Institute of
LSU.  The conclusions of this group do not differ markedly from those
of the Documentation Team.(2)

The oil plume was almost always observed to leave the platform in the
same general direction as the wind.  Quite often photos showed a sharp
hook in the plume.  This was associated with  an abrupt wind change.
Other photos showed the plume to make a large gentle curve.  This is
felt to be the effect of rotating wind directions.  On March 24 and 25,
the southerly winds were blowing the oil generally northward toward the
islands.  On the 26th the wind  shifted from west of south (225°) to west
of north (330°) starting a new  plume toward the SSE and displacing the
old plume in the same direction.  This same effect is also illustrated
in Figure 11 and Figure 12 where the IR scans taken 3 uours apart show
the plume shift coinciding with a wind shift  occurring between the two

It is likely that a detailed examination of the aerial photos (particularly)
the mosaics) would indicate other reactions of  the plume to other
circulation effects such as the tides, particularly when the winds are
low; however, the USGS mosaics  required additional work at the time of
this writing.

As described in a previous section,  most of the surveillance from  the


air and water concerned itself with the most recent slick, with nothing
appearing in the reports regarding oil more than a couple of days old.
It was not certain at the time whether this was due to the older oil
moving off to sea and thus out of mind, or if the oil is dispersed or
otherwise reduced beyond recognition in a few days.  At this time,
it appears that both factors were at work.

The longest observed slicks were noted when the wind blew from the same
quadrant for a long period of time.  It is felt that when the wind
would shift to a new direction, the wind would add another dimension to
the spreading of the surface oil (e.g.  If the wind shifts 90 degrees,
spreading perpendicular to the old slick axis is increased).  Thus, the
old oil is subject to very rapid spreading, which would aid dispersion
by wave action, aid bio-degradation and possible spread the oil beyond
the point of visual recognition; possibly accounting for the reported
"disappearance" of the old oil some time after the wind shifts.

Only sustained and strong winds from the south and southeast would
threaten the islands and the sounds.  This occurred only three times
during the high oil flow period, and will be discussed later.  The
winds from the east were sustained enough to threaten the Delta only
one time; however, as discussed, the "rip" protected this shore.  All
the other times, the winds were from the wrong direction, too weak, or
not sustained enough to threaten the islands and sounds.  The oil at
these times merely moved to sea and into the general Gulf circulation
pattern which carried it to the east southeast, or further to sea.

Oil slicks in general are observed to respond to the wind.  This slick
coming from MP41C was no exception.  The actual processes involved
in wind induced flow are complex.  They involve the drag of the wind
on the surface, sea-surface roughness (waves) and the Stokes velocity
of waves, and the formation of windrows.  But there can be little doubt
that wind-induced speed of the topmost layers of water and of an oil
slick, will be significantly larger than the 2 or 3 per cent of wind
speed generally indicated by instruments that average current speeds
over several thin layers slightly below the surface.

Since southerly and easterly winds aid the establishment of the
secondary axis of net surface drift which would have a flushing action in
Breton Sound, while northerly and westerly winds would tend to keep
oil out of the sound, almost all winds are at least somewhat favorable
with respect to protection of this area.  With regard to pollution of
the beaches, any wind having an on-shore component would move nearby oil
onto a beach.  But during the period of greatest danger, between  the
extinguishing of the fire and sealing of the last well, winds were, for
the most part, too light or too variable in direction to move oil from
MP41C to Cosier and Breton Islands or the mouth of Main Pass, the
nearest land.  For example:  if the oil moves at 4% of the wind speed,
it would take about 15 hours for steady 15-knot winds to bring pollution
from the platform to the nearest beaches.  During the most hazardous
time there were only four periods during which the wind direction was
fairly constant and unfavorable.  These were:


1200Z 10 Mar - 1800Z 11 Mar
1200Z 16 Mar - 1200Z 17 Mar
0600Z 25 Mar - 0600Z 26 Mar
0600Z 27 Mar - 1800Z 28 Mar
  11 knots
  22 knots
  10 knots
  18 knots
Breton Island
Breton Island
Breton & Cosier Is.
Delta & Main Pass
An examination of the aerial records for  these periods indicate:

1.  On March 11, the IR scan records made by Remote Sensing, Inc. show
the oil going northwest for approximately 20 miles from the platform
between Breton and Grand Cosier  Islands into Breton Sound (Figure 11);
and (Figure 12)shows the slick  translating eastward after a wind shift.

2.  On March 16,both USGS and  USCG aerial records showed the oil up to
Breton Island and possibly into  the sound.

3.  On March 26, a map made by USGS aerial surveillance group shows the
oil up to Grand Cosier Island, but moving away again due to a wind shift.

4.  The Delta area, including  Main Pass,  is protected by the convergence
zone.  March 28, the oil was observed  to  flow westward until meeting the
"rip" then north and south along the edge of the "rip".

Pollution of the beaches was directly  reported in the official situation
reports for March 16 only.  There are  also reports of cleanup operations
on Breton Island using straw which was subsequently burned.

Of course, the picture is far  more complex than described above, because
any particular wind will move  not only oil issuing from the source while
the wind is blowing, but also  the oil  that has been moved to other
locations by previous winds.   This previously emitted oil would have
undergone a degree of spreading  and dispersal, depending on the local
conditions and the length of time it had  been on the surface.

Tidal currents are another large factor in the movement of the oil.
These would tend to deflect oil  approaching the delta, but would tend to
move oil into or out of  the sound depending on whether the tide was
flooding or ebbing.  However,  if tidal currents were the only factor,
the net result should be an increasingly  large oil slick, with a
periodically oscillating centroid, which  alternately extends tendrils
of oil spreading into Breton Sound and partially retracts them.
Pollution of the beaches above the high water mark would not take
place without some wind or wave  action.

Tidal currents in the vicinity of MP41C can have speeds up to 0.8 knot.
Since this is a maximum value, since the  nearest land is about 8 nautical
miles away, and since the flooding current persists for no more than
about 13 hours, it is not likely that  tidal currents along would be
able to move a particle of oil from the platform to the land.  However,
this too, is an over-simplification, because of the large spreading of
the oil, even on undisturbed water.

Probably the main factor in preventing extensive pollution of the shore
and of considerable significance in the flushing of Breton Sound - was
the river discharge.  Its action was two-fold.  First, by creating a
convergence zone, where saline gulf water flows under fresh river water,
it produced a barrier to the surface oil between the Delta shore and the
source.  On several occasions the oil slick was reported to have extended
westward up to the convergence zone, and then to have spread out along
it.  Second, because of the river discharge, there is a net seaward
transport of surface water.  The primary direction of this net transport
is eastward from the Delta, and this had a flushing action on the area
around the source of the oil.  The secondary direction of net seaward
transport is through Breton Sound and just south of Breton and Cosier
Islands, which would have aided the flushing of these areas.

If the river had been at low discharge stage, the convergence zone would
probably still have existed to protect the Delta shore.  But the flushing
action would have been less effective, and the turbulence spectrum may
have been different, altering the dispersion rate.

Two types of oil can be in suspension:  that which had been emulsified
by physical breakup of the oil into tiny droplets, and that which had
been emulsified by chemical means.  Most of the former would rise to the
surface within a few hours and become part of the surface oil slick.  The
latter may be presumed to have remained in suspension.  Its fate depended on
whether it penetrated to the deep, up-stream flowing salt water layer,
or remained in the seaward-flowing, fresher surface layer.  Oil in the
deep layer could conceivably find its way into Breton Sound in a highly
diluted state, and possibly remain there for a considerable time.  Also,
it could conceivably move quite close to the Delta shore.  However, because
the river was at high discharge stage, it is not likely that the oil
could have moved into the river outlets even if it could have reached the
vicinity of the passes.

Since the chemicals used formed a bio-degradable emulsion, the chemically
emulsified oil would probably, after a time, be metabolized by the micro-
organisms in the water.

The oil suspended in the surface layer was probably gradually flushed
out to sea through the primary and secondary axes of net seaward transport.
One set of photos shows that, on at least one occasion, the emulsified
oil in the surface layer stopped at a turbidity boundary which the surface
oil passed over.  There was no line of floating debris associated with
this turbidity boundary and surface oil easily passed over this line, so
it could not have been a convergence though there may have been one at  that
place earlier.

Unfortunately, no information is available regarding the percentages of
oil at different depths.

In the open Gulf of Mexico, the currents flow northward from the Yucatan
Straits and diverge just south of the Mississippi Delta, part flowing
westward along the Texas coast, the other part flowing eastward along the

coast of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.  In the area south of the Delta,
between the diverging tongues, the surface currents are mainly related to
the local winds.  Figure 15, from Scruton (3), after Leipper (4), shows
the current pattern in  the Gulf of Mexico.  The eastward flowing tongue
entrains water emerging from the area east of the Delta.  Surface water
having salinity less than 35 parts per  thousand is not found beyond the
1,000 fathom contour further from the coast than 70 statute miles.  Thus,
the Mississippi (and east Delta) drainage does not spread beyond the
continental shelf  (§).

Gaul  (5) reports that the "DeSoto Canyon (south of Pensacola) generally
appears to be  the  eastward limit of  intrusion of Mississippi River water
except when major wind  systems exert significant influence on the surface
circulation.   This  suggests  that there  must be a net surface transport
westward around the Mississippi Delta that is confined to the shelf".
Walsh (6) says that the westerly-flowing tongue of the Gulf current
enhances the  littoral currents leaving  the Delta, while the easterly
branch normally seems to have  little influence on the surface waters.
However, deeper than  15 meters,  there is a definite northeasterly flow
affecting the area from South  Pass  to the east.

                          6.0  REFERENCES
1.  Ahearn, D. G., Meyers, S.P. and Standard, P. G., 1970 in press.
"The Role of Yeasts in the Decomposition of Oils in Marine Environ-
ments", Developmental Industrial Microbiology, Vol. 12

2.  Murray, S.P., Smith, W. G. and Sonu, C.J., 1970.  "Oceanographic
Observations and Theoretical Analysis of Oil Slicks During the Chevron
Spill, March, 1970", Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana State

3.  Scruton, P. C., 1956.  "Oceanography of Mississippi Delta
Sedimentary Environments", Bull. Amer. Soc. Pet. Geol., V. 40 No. 12.

4.  Leipper, D. F., 1954.  "Physical Oceanography of the Gulf of Mexico",
U. S. Dept. of Int., Fish & Wildlife Service, Bull. 89, p. 119-137.

5.  Gaul, R. D., 1966.  "Circulation over the Continental Margin of the
Northeast Gulf of Mexico", Texas A&M, Dept. of Oceanography, Ref. 66-187.

6.  Walsh, Don, 1969.  "Characteristic Patterns of River Outflow in
the Mississippi Delta", Texas A&M, Dept. of Oceanography, Ref. 69-8-7.

                        7.0  CONTROL OF THE OIL
7.1  Discussion of Operations

When the casualty occurred, simultaneous efforts were undertaken on
three fronts to provide a capability for extinguishing the fire,
stopping the flow of oil and controlling oil pollution.

Two methods for extinguishing the fire were undertaken:

(a)  cooling the platform and putting the fire out with water,
(b)  using explosives to choke off the oxygen supply.

When the attempt at the first method failed, the rigging necessary to
proceed with the first alternative was undertaken.  Construction was
started on a work platform from which firefighting and well capping
operations could be performed.  An analysis of the situation had indi-
cated that this was a major spill and a large scale, effort would be
needed to cope with the situation.  Chevron began mobilization of all
the expertise and equipment it considered would be in any way helpful
in combating the spill.  They called in experts on the extinguishing of
oil well fires and engaged consultants from many other fields including
weather, oceanography, oil containment, skimming, ecological effects and
pollution: advice and support was solicited from the cognizant State and
Federal Agencies.

On the basis of this pooling of its own capabilities with the input from
the consultants, Chevron began to assemble the tools and work force
needed to contend with various phases of the problem.  From McDermott
they obtained the jet barge, JIAFRA, to spray water on the platform and
keep it cool.  The GEORGE R. BROWN, a Brown & Root derrick barge, was
moved into the area to support the work platform construction effort.
At the same time three drill rigs, Chevron's S66, Penrod's PENKOD 51
and Corals' MR. ARTHUR were contracted to drill relief wells in an
attempt to choke off the flow of oil from below.  Chevron outfitted
one of its LST crew ships with additional communications equipment and
moored it close by as an on-site command center for directing the con-
trol effort.  From within its own organization it mobilized supervisors,
engineers and workmen and assigned them to various tasks.

Although the extinguishing of the fire and drilling of the relief wells
were by themselves major efforts, they were familiar problems with
known solutions to any major oil company such as Chevron.  However, the
control of large scale oil pollution at sea was not an every day
occurrence and there was a lack of practical experience to draw on.
Previous spills (Torrey Canyon and Santa Barbara) gave every indication
that the problem was extremely serious and offered no easy solution.
There was a distinct lack of off-the-shelf equipment available to aid
in combating a spill of this magnitude.  It was extremely urgent that
something be done immediately for, once the fire was extinguished, the
pollution would increase dramatically.  There was little time to
theorize over the ideal approach, so every avenue which gave any prom-
ise at all of producing results was implemented and a work force
delegated to pursue it.

Various types of booms, skimmers, absorbents and chemical dispersents
were assembled.  None of the equipment or materials had any previous
history of being totally effective in containment and clean up of
oil spills, so no single approach could be fully relied upon.  It was
hoped that from the assembled equipment a system could be developed to
contain and clean up the spilled oil.

Three mechanical "lines of defense" were developed, and the equipment
and manpower required for each mobilized.

1.  A line of anchored barges interconnected with containment booms
and equipped with skimming equipment.

2.  Several chase-skimmer boats and a skimmer barge to collect oil
which passed through or by-passed the line of barges.

3.  A number of fast shallow draft boats, lightweight booms, and
barges with straw and mulchers to protect the bays and beaches.

The use of chemical dispersants for anti-pollution purposes were express-
ly forbidden by the FWQA; however, the use of these chemicals for safety
purposes in the immediate vicinity of the platform was approved by USGS.
Thus, for the purpose of preventing serious accidents at the platform
during the well capping operations, Chevron prepared effective means
for the application of chemical dispersants at the platform.  See Section

Most of the available supply of commercial containment booms in the U.S.
was purchased by Chevron and routed to its operational base in Venice.
Personnel had to be trained in its deployment and operational peculiari-
ties.  A blueprint of the "Navy" boom was obtained and a barge was out-
fitted for its manufacture on an assembly-line basis.  A survey of the
field showed that no skimming equipment capable of operating in  t he
open sea was available anywhere, so skimmers had to be built from de-
signs worked up on the spot by William Altenburg.  Methods for rigging
the skimmer boats had to be worked out, and the boats outfitted with
booms, outriggers, separation tanks, pumps, etc.  A barge was outfitted
for skimming, and a large adjustable weir was designed and built for it.
The seven barges which were to protect the NW sector were outfitted with
anchors, tanks, skimming equipment, pumps, etc.  Sections of commercial
boom were fitted to fill the gaps between barges.  Although the fire was
not extinguished until approximately one month after it started, the
pollution control program was under constant pressure from the beginning
as it was thought, from day to day, that the fire would be put out.

An indication of the effort expended by the pollution control groups is
given by the inventory of equipment at the scene or mobilized in Venice
by February 19th.

               Tow boats                     4
               Cargo barges                  2
               Work boats                    ± _
               Work boats                    2 - 150*
               Work boats                    2-80'
               Oil barges                    4
               Spill control boom
                  Johns-Manville             2600'
               TT                            1500'
               Slickbar                      2200'

             Boom handling equipment
               Inflatable buoys              IQO
               Styrofoam buoys                50
               Steel buoys                     6
               Anchors                       140 -  40 Ib.
               Anchors                         6 -  500 Ib.
               Nylon cord                    30,000'

               Anchor chaim                  4,400'

               Skimmers (Altenburg type)      4
               Pumps                         8  - 400 GPM
               Pump                          1  - 300 GPM
               Pump                          1  - 200 GPM
               Pump                          1  - 650 GPM

               Corexit                       80 drums

               Chemical Spray Boats           2  - 100'
               Chemical Spray Boat           1-90'

               Straw                         20,700  bales
               Ureafoam pads                  450 - 19" x 60"

               Mulchers                      2

It was soon  realized  that wind and  sea were  the main deterrents to any
type of spill  control in the open sea, and the equipment needed must be
of an order  of magnitude larger than that used  in protected waters.  The
difficulties of handling larger equipment in rough weather compounds
the situation, and where light gear can be manhandled, means must now
be provided  to use auxiliary power  such as winches,  cranes, falls, etc.
Also in open water it  is not feasible to use small work vessels.  The
list of equipment  previously given  indicates that at that time the
smallest vessel in use was an 80-footer.

One aspect of  the  SANTA BARBARA and TORREY CANYON spills which took on
major proportions  failed to  occur in the MP41C spill.  The former
spills caused major damage to wild  fowl and  a  concerted effort to


mobilize men and equipment to prevent this in the Gulf was made.  One
reason  for  the barge array was to protect the Breton Island Bird
Sanctuary.  Men were permanently stationed on the island to keep the
birds away  and clean traces of any oil that came ashore.  The men were
provided with firecrackers and shotguns with blanks in order to keep any
birds from  landing if any accumulation of oil had built up on the
beaches.  Large amounts of straw were landed on Breton for absorption
of  the  oil  and incinerators were provided for disposal of the oil
soaked  straw.  This mobilization effort was luckily never utilized to
any great extent.

One way of  reducing the amount of water pollution would have been to
collect the oil at the platform before it reached the water surface.
This would  have required construction of a device for making an oil/gas
separation  of the escaping crude and diverting the oil to a nearby
collection  point.  Chevron did indeed construct such a device but it
was never used.  It was completed just as capping operations for C-6
were commencing and it was decided to go ahead with the capping attempt
rather  than install the collector and depend on choking off the well
from below.

It  is interesting to note that of the eight wells which had to be
stopped, four were shut off from the platform and four were choked off
from below, either by drilling auxiliary holes and injecting fluid into
the oil producing strata or from natural causes, (sanding-up).  Well C-6,
which caused most of the pollution, was shut off by drilling.  If the
decision had been made to make no attempt at capping but to collect the
oil and wait for the wells to be choked off from below, the overall
pollution might have been reduced.  The decision made at the time was
to  use  every available method to stop the flow of oil as quickly as
possible, and cope with the pollution after the oil was on the water.

The engineering and field implementation of Chevron's pollution control
program were major efforts.  It is estimated that this aspect alone of
the total work directed at re-establishing control of the oil from
Platform MP41C involved the use of approximately 250 men with as many
as  60 vessels in use at certain times and an expenditure of 2.5 million
dollars.  Of distinct advantage to Chevron in the situation was the
fact that the platform was located in an area where there were people
and equipment available to make immediate response.  This area of the
Gulf has been the center of offshore oil production for years and al-
though  there was little expertise in controlling oil spills of this
magnitude,  the background of related experience was there.

7.2  Booms

The effective control of an oil spill depends in large measure on the
ability to prevent spreading of the oil on the water surface.  An obvious
approach to the prevention of spreading is the use of booms.  Chevron
assembled some 6000 feet of various types of booms in its initial prepara-
tions to combat the spread of oil once the fire on Platform C was
extinguished,  and constructed some 2000 additional feet of boom at the site,


During the period of this  oil  spill the booms  were used in several ways
with varying degrees of  success:

a)  to contain and guide the oil  in the platform vicinity
b)  to close off spaces  between anchored barges (See section 7.3)
c)  to corral and concentrate  oil with skimmer boats (see  Section 7.4)

Five types of booms were used  by  Chevron for spill control.   Four were
commercial products and  one was fabricated locally from U. S.  Navy designs,
The commercial booms were:

a)  The Kain Filtration  Boom manufactured by Bennett International of
British Columbia, Canada.
b)  The T-T Boom made  by Trygve Thune A.S. of Oslo, Norway and distri-
buted by  East Coast Services,  Inc. of Braintree, Massachusetts.
c)  The Slickbar Boom  manufactured by Neirad Industries of Westport,
d)  No. 1224 Spillguard  Boom manufactured by Johns-Man vi lie, New York,
New York.

The "Navy Boom" was similar to a  design fabricated at the  Long Beach
Naval Shipyard.

Two of these booms were  of light  construction and did not  see use in
open water  as containment  booms.   These were the Slickbar  and T-T booms.
The Slickbar is essentially a plastic fin with a foamed plastic float
on the upper edge,  lead  ballast at the lower edge and a 1/4" wire rope
stress member,  (Figure 4). The T-T boom is 3 feet high made of nylon
reinforced  PVC  canvas.  Foam  floats attached to the skirt  on 3'4" spacing,
vertical  aluminum  rods,  and lead  on the bottom keep the canvas vertical.
Two terylene  lines  serve as stress members.  It normally floats with 2
feet submerged.  These light  construction booms were mobilized as a
second line of  defense to  protect the oyster beds.  Sections of T-T boom
were also used  on  the  skimmer  boats to concentrate the oil slick for
pick up  (Figure 5).

Containment of  the  slick in open  water required more substantial booms.
The 1224  JM Spillguard boom is made of asbestos compound sheet with
closed cell foam flotation.  The  sheet provides its own tensile strength
and chain is strung along  with lower edge to provide vertical stability.
It floats with  12  inches above water and 24 inches below (Figure 6).

The Kain  Filtration boom consists of a sandwich of wire rope net, chain
link fence, and polypropylene  filtration material.  Detachable cylin-
drical floats cause it to  float about 2/3 submerged.  The  filtration
material  is reportedly porous  to  water but opposes the passage of oil.
The boom  comes  in  three  sizes, 3, 5, and 8 foot heights.  The 8 ft. model
was used  by Chevron  (Figure 7).

The "Navy" boom was fabricated in the field and consists of 4 x 8 sheets
of 3/4 marine plywood, with the 4 ft. dimension vertical,  supported by
four (4)  55-gallon drums,  two  on  each side.  The 8 ft. sections were


                                                                               END PLATE
                                                          LEAD BALLAST WEIGHTS
                                  SLICKBAR  BOOM

                                  ALUMINUM BAR
                                                                                PLASTIC SKIRT
                                                           LEAD BALLAST
                                                 T-T  BOOM

                                        ASBESTOS COMPOUND
                                        CHAIN BALLAST

                         CHAIN LINK FENCE
                                                                             FILTRATION MATERIAL
                                       KAIN   BOOM

             3/4 PLYWOOD
   1/2 WIRE ROPE
                                55 GAL. DRUMS
                                                                                     BALLAST FILLED PLASTIC SKIRT

interconnected by sheets of 18 oz.  Fasilon  (Sun  Chemical) canvas and a
3 ft. skirt of the same material weighted on  the lower edge was attached
to the bottom of the plywood.  The  sections were coupled by two lengths
of 1/2 wire rope which carried the  stress  (Figure 8 ).  The boom was
fabricated and deployed inshore and then towed out on station.

All the booms used were subject to  severe attrition in the unprotected
waters near the platform.  Over the seven-week period they were used,
this attrition resulted in the reduction of the  boom types to two.  The
T-T boom was used on the skimmer boats  for  slick concentration before
skimming.  For major containment in relatively rough weather, the "Navy"
boom was the only survivor.

The overall performance of the "Navy" boom  led Chevron to place greater
reliance on this type boom as time  progressed.   They outfitted a special
barge for the mass production of boom sections and kept it moored in one
of the sheltered bayous close to the platform.   In the latter stages of
the spill this was the only 'type of boom on the  scene.  The boom sections
were not moored but remained mobile under the control of a pair of tugs.
Two 500-foot sections were combined to  make a V-shaped barrier which
concentrated the oil for pick up by the skimmer  barge and boats.  The
two tugs were used to apread the mouth  of the V  and a skimmer vessel
held the lines to the apex.  It was felt that the boom could not stand
the strains which would be exerted  if the apex was completely closed
off, so a gap was left at the apex  through which the oil flowed to be
caught in the containment booms of  the  skimmer vessels and pumped aboard.
In tests, oil would run under the boom  if held in a V.  For this type
of operation, the "Navy" boom maintained its  integrity in up to 6 foot
seas.  No stringent test was made to determine the ultimate strength
of the boom.  When the weather was  too  bad  for pick up operations, the
boom was towed into sheltered waters.

Once Chevron had their assembly line in production, they were turning
out boom at the rate of 20-25ft./hr. at an  estimated cost of $15 per
foot.  As a spill control device the "Navy" boom had the disadvantage
that it is not readily portable and would take up quite a bit of storage
space if it were held ready for immediate deployment.  However, it
would stack compactly if the 55 gallon  drums  were removed and stored
separately.  The fabric used by Chevron (Fasilon) was later deemed to
be unsatisfactory for permanent or  reusable booms since it could not
be satisfactorily cleaned.

7.3  Barge Line

Priority was given to the protection of the oyster beds and shrimp
nursery areas to the northwest of the rig, and a line of barges inter-
connected with booms was deployed to protect  these valuable resources
from possible harm.  Seven barges,  six  measuring 250 x 70 x 20 and one
350 x 90 x 24, were mobilized.  Booms were to be used to connect the
barges and provide pockets from which the collected oil could be
skimmed.  The seven barges used in  this operation made a barrier about


                                     LINE OF  CONTAINMENT  BARGES  PRIOR TO FIRE
                PHOTO  COURTESY  OF
Figure 9

2500 ft. long covering the NW quadrant  at  a distance  of  about  1500  ft.
from the rig (Figure 9).

The effort to contain the oil spill met with varying  degrees of success.
The fixed barge system to the NW of the platform was  only  partially
effective for 3 days of  the  21  days it  was deployed.  At other times
the wind/current pattern was driving  the oil in  another  direction or
the array was damaged due to adverse  weather. Of necessity, the mooring
lines on the side toward the rig were fairly short to  assure that there
was no chance of fouling the anchor lines  from the derrick and jet
barges.  The commercial  booms used to fill the gaps betoween barges were
damaged whenever the barges  dragged anchor and subjected them  to any
excessive strain.  Originally three of  the gaps  between  barges were
filled with sections of  Johns-Manville's boom and the other three with
Kain boom.  Because of its lighter construction, the  Johns-Manville
boom became damaged first with  the Kain boom maintaining its integrity
a little longer*  The damaged sections  were repaired  or  in the case of
total destruction, were  replaced with sections of the "Navy" boom.  The
barges which were initially  positioned  by  March  4th required constant
attention.  On March 4th, one barge dragged anchor and holed another
barge which had to be sent to Venice  for repairs.  It was  returned  on
March 7th and the barges positioned with the sections of Kain  and Johns-
Manville booms in place. On March 8th, the weather made up from the
NE with 6-8 foot seas.   There was some  dragging  of anchors and damage
to the booms.

The  fire on the platform was extinguished  at 11:29 a.m.  on March 10th
with a  corresponding increase in the  amount of oil which had to be
contained.  At this time, the wind was  from the  SSE and  the slick was
moving NNW toward the barge/boom array. Two sections of the array
allowed oil to pass through  and the skimmer barge along  with a section
of  "Navy" boom was positioned behind  the array to pick up  and  contain
this oil.  On March llth, the weather picked up  and the  seas went to
3-4  feet.  By late that  day  the booms between barges  were  inoperative
and  damaged.  The "Navy" boom seemed  to survive  best.

On March 12th, the wind  shifted into  the north and drove the oil away
from the barges, fortuitously allowing  time to repair the  booms.  By
March 15th the booms were again in position and  holding  back the oil
as the wind shifted first to the south  and later into the  east.  On
March 16th, the winds picked up, resulting in 3-4 foot seas and the
array could only hold back about 50%  of the oil-  A further deteriora-
tion of the weather on March 17th, with seas up  to 12 feet as  squall
lines passed, damaged the barge/boom  system to such an extent  that  it
was returned to Venice.  The whole concept of fixed booms  was  abandoned
at this point.  The array could have  been  re-established using heavier
ground tackle but by this time  enough experience had  been  obtained  to
make the decision that a mobile rather  than fixed boom was a more prac-
tical way to combat this particular type of spill.

The fixed barge/boom array,  once the  initial bugs had been overcome,


seemed to perform satisfactorily in 1-3 foot seas and held back most of
the oil that it intercepted.  Maintaining the integrity of the array
became increasingly more difficult as the weather worsened.  As the waves
increased to 3-5 feet, it became only 50% effective and it became useless
in anything above six feet.

The array also contained none of the oil which drifted in any direction
other than the NW quadrant.  One of the peculiarities of this spill was
the tendency of the crude which attained any great thickness to collect
in narrow rows under the influence of the wind/current structure.  There
was, therefore, more to recommend the use of a mobile boom which could
intercept these narrow plumes close to the platform thaa there was for
a fixed position array.  For the conditions existing in this area of the
Gulf during the early spring, the moored barge/boom configuration was
neither containment nor cost effective.

7.4  Recovery Equipment

The oil recovery system planned by Chevron was a three-pronged effort.
Skimming was to be done in the boom pockets between the barges making
up the NW protection screen.  A 30 x 150 barge was also outfitted for
skimming.  This barge was rigged with a vertically adjustable collector
weir extending along its 150 ft. dimension.  This weir arrangement was
not straight but shaped like the letter W.  Oil entering the front was
funnelled in and spilled over weirs into pockets at the back of each
V segment.  The oil-water mixture in the pocket was pumped to two
decanting tanks with 1,000 barrel capacity.  This barge was not self-
propelled but was maneuvered by two tugs secured alongside on the 30-ft.
sides of the barge.  When conditions permitted, two 500 ft. sections of
"Navy" boom were extended to each side and forward of the barge to
funnel the oil to the skimmer barge.  The forward edges of the boom
sections were held in position by two more tugs.  Coordination of
positioning of the four tugs was done from a helicopter.

Six workboats were also outfitted for skimmer operation.  Sections of
T-T boom were extended out abeam of the boats with outriggers to form a
semi-circular dam as the boat moved through the water.  A skimmer-weir
was suspended from a davit at the stern of the boat into the aft part
of the semi-circle and the oil, water mixture was pumped into 100 bbl.
separating tanks.  The water could be drained overboard ahead of the
outriggers so that any residual oil would be collected again.  These six
boats were mobile and designed as chase boats to pick up any oil which
was not retrieved by the main boom or skimmer barge.

The skimmers used on the boom barges and skimmer chase boats were based
on the Swiss skimmer design but were extensively modified and enlarged
at the advice of William Altenburg of Altenburg, Kirk and Company, whom
Chevron used as a technical consultant.  The skimmers built consisted of
four cylindrical flotation tanks which supported the four corners of a
weir assembly (Figure 10).  By adjusting the position of the floats
with respect to the weir box, the thickness of the layer skimmed


                                               ALTENBERG SKIMMER DETAIL
                 PHOTO COURTESY

                 CHEVRON OIL CO.
Figure 10

could be set.  In order that the traits be rugged enough for use in the
open sea, no automatic weir height adjustments were used.  The capacity
of the pumps was made large enough to compensate for any loss of
efficiency.  They were diesel-driven centrifugal units with 400-600 g.p.m.
ratings.  These skimmers proved to be one of the most reliable pieces
of equipment used in the oil recovery effort and 25 of them saw service
at various times during the operation.

The skimmer barge was able to work effectively in seas up to 3 feet
while the boats were limited to approximately 2 feet.  The boat's
capability was limited by the physical ability of the men to keep the
over-the-side equipment at the right level as the boat rolled in the
seas.  The T-T boom outriggers had to be constantly worked to maintain
the boom as an effective containment device and there were difficulties
in making adjustments to the skimmer suspension and hoses.  Individual
boat skipper's skill made considerable difference in pick up efficiency.

The barge was more effective since it was not in itself subject to large
induced motion.  It ceased to be functional at oil collection when the
ratio of oil to water entering the weir became too low and the seas be-
gan to splash the oil up onto the deck of the barge.  There is some
indication that the retrieving ability was improved in rough weather by
turning the barge around and picking up oil on the downwind side with
skimmers working in the lee of the barge.

Figures on estimated recovery indicate that the skimmer boats and barge
did quite well at picking up oil.  The vessels concentrated on the thick
"rope" oil and, when weather conditions were favorable, seemed to keep
up with the rate of spill.  Chevron reports to the Coast Guard as re-
ported in USCG Sitreps indicate representative daily rates of emulsion
recovery of 2,367; 2,102; 2,819 bbls.  There was a reported recovery
of 15,623 bbls. of emulsion in the ten days between the time when the
fire was extinguished and 19 March, an average of 1,562 bbls/day.  Assuming
that the percentage of oil in the emulsion was from 50 to 70%, and
realizing that the skimmer boats operated only during daylight, the amount
of recovery is commensurate with the amounts reported to have been spilled.

The evidence points out that success of the skimming operation was as
much a function of the manpower as the equipment.  The work on deck,
priming pumps, adjusting weir and boom heights, and transferring oil to
barges was all performed under conditions which were at best difficult
and at times hazardous.  The logistics were also complicated and required
that the vessels be coordinated so that each was working to provide
maximum effectiveness of oil recovery^  This required constant communi-
cation between a surveillance helicopter, the command center, and the
vessels.  The delay in extinguishing the fire provided some time for
training, and this time was used to advantage.

                          7.0  REFERENCES
1.  U. S. Coast Guard Situation Reports, Comdr. Div. 8 to Commandant
USCG, February - March, 1970.

2.  U. S. Coast Guard Situation Reports, COTPNO to Comdr. Div- 8, New
Orleans, February - March,  1970.

3.  U. S. Geological Survey Situation  Reports, New Orleans Representative
to FWQA, Dallas, Texas, February  - March,  1970.

4.  Personal Communication, Mr. Durwood B.  Simpson, U. S. Geological
Survey, Lafayette, La.

5.  Personal Communication, Mr. Jerry  T. Thornhill, FWQA, Dallas, Texas

6.  Swartzberg, H. C. Draft 1970.  "The Spreading of Oil Films"  New
York  University, Grant  15080EPL,  FWQA.

7.  "Offshore News" March,  1970

8.  Canevari, G. P. 1970  -  "COREXIT 7664 Oil Dispersant - Status of
Toxicity Evaluation", Esso  Research and Engineering Co., New York, New

9.  Mills,  E. R.,  Jr.  1970  - "The Acute Toxicity  of Various  Crude Oils
and Oil  Spill Removers  on Two Genera of Marine Shrimp", Louisiana
State University,  Baton Rough, Louisiana.

                         8.0  SURVEILLANCE

8.1  Visual Surveillance

The FWQA and the USCG conducted  routine visual observations of the spill
from aircraft.  Normally these aircraft flew  twice per day.  The purpose
of these flights was the real-time  determination of the status of the
oil on water for the information on the Regional Response Team (RRT).
An additional function of  these  flights was to inspect the islands, back
bays and shorelines for evidence of oil on the beaches and for biological
damage.  No special navigational systems were used aboard these aircraft
for precise location.  Each flight  resulted in a report; informal sketch
maps of variable value were also prepared  (1).

The USGS also made visual  observations of  the spill as part of its
remote sensing program and produced a number  of "maps" of the oil.
These were not available to the  RRT in near real-time, but will be used
in a USGS report of the spill (2).   Navigation for the USGS flights was
performed with a mobile long range  tracking radar based in Venice for
the duration of this incident (3).

Chevron reportedly  flew routine  morning and evening flights using
precise navigational control.

The groups above, as well  as manyState, Federal and other interested
agencies and persons made  numerous  non-routine flights over the platform
and spill area.  Quite early in  the casualty, the FAA, in cooperation
with the USCG, restricted  flights within  a two mile radius of the
platform to an altitude greater  than 5,000 feet.  This presumably was
done to reduce air  congestion for the protection of the operational

A normal observation  flight would start at Charlie platform and follow
the slick as  far as possible; then  circling the apparent end of the
slick  and back to the  platform after which the shoreline, islands and
bays would be examined.  Generally  only the most recent surface plume
resulting from the  existing wind direction would be readily detectable.
It was often  difficult  to  recognize the older slicks  in the area which
had "broken off"  from  the  most recent plume due to wind or current

Visual tracking  of  the older slicks was confused by a number of natural
effects not  connected  to  the spill.  Some of  these were:

a)  Several zones of different water turbidity  (color) the boundaries
of which would migrate somewhat  locally.   One of these boundaries was
just east of  the platform  during most of  the  spill incident.

b)  In times  of  high winds the turbid water in the vicinity of the
platform would forS streaks not  unsimilar to  the oil  dispersed locally
in the water  column.   The  streaking is  caused by the  breaking up  of  the
thin surface  layer  of  turbid fresh  water  which overlies  the clearer


Gulf shelf waters.

c.  Shoals can be seen through the water in some areas.  There was
little difficulty in following the new oil plume from Charlie platform
outside the island chain and outside the "rip" at the edge of the
delta, however, most observers commented on the profusion of what
appeared to be chronic spills from operations in Breton Sound, in the
bays and along the shores of the delta.  Often, in trying to determine
whether this oil could have come from MP41C, these slicks would be
followed to other operations.  However, a number of these in-shore
slicks could not be readily traced to an operation by visual observa-

The above obviously poses a problem for the enforcement people, and
could have far-reaching effects on litigation resulting from the spill.
The question of whose oil did what, where and at what time, is not
easily resolved in any area as heavily worked by different operators as
the East Delta area.  The photographs and records made by the remote
sensing groups, as well as the maps made from controlled visual
observations will certainly aid in an after-the-fact interpretation.

It was often difficult to follow the slick for more than several tables
by boat without assistance from the air.  The oil clean-up crews in the
"chase boats" experienced similar problems.  One technique for mapping
the slick by boat is to make a series of low angle traverses or zig-zags
across the slick, noting the edge on each traverse.  Other methods are
more time consuming and less certain.

8.2  Instrumented Surveillance

The number of groups participating in instrumented aerial surveillance
was much smaller in this casualty than in the Santa Barbara incident (4).

The U. S. Geological Survey's remote sensing group in Phoenix had four
aircraft operating out of the Lakeview Airport in New Orleans, and had
a long range radar tracking van in Venice.  They had the most sustained

The USCG arranged with NASA for overflights by one of their instrumented
earth resources aircraft during the day and night of March 16, 1970.
These flights were coordinated with simultaneous "ground truth"
observations made by the LSU Coastal Studies Institute who were making
other  oceanographic observations in the area under contract to USCG.

The Remote Sensing, Inc. of Houston, a commercial organization, made a
number of instrumented flights over several days.  This was done on
speculation that a market could be found for this service.

Numerous photographs of the spill were made from the aircraft making
visual observations.  The records and photographs produced in the
programs listed were not available to the on-scene people in anything


resembling "real time" and were,  in  fact,  study programs with long
term objectives, or documentation efforts.  At this writing both the
USCG and the USGS studies are  still  underway.  The Remote Sensing, Inc.
records and photos are presumably available for purchase,

8.2.1  U. S. Geological  Survey Program  (2)  (3)

Equipment used:

Cessna 180 - Mod. K17 mapping  camera -  Hasselblad
Cessna 310 - Hasselblad, RV  used
Beaver - HRB Singer imaging  system,  two channel: UV & infrared,
Hasselblad - TV not used
H19 Helicopter - Low oblique photography
Mobile Radar Van - Modified  surplus  long range missile-tracking radar
(M-33) with X-Y plotter  readout,  Van had direct communications with
the aircraft.

After several days of test runs,  the USGS  having limited personnel,
decided to concentrate their efforts on daylight color photography
as they felt this gave them  the best results.  Kodak Aeroneg color
reversal film was used.

Flights were made at least twice  per day along the path  of the oil
slick.  On days when the weather  precluded color photography, visual
observations were made.  Flight altitudes  were a nominal 10,000 feet,
but varied according to  weather conditions.

At this writing the photographs are  being  analyzed in detail by USGS
personnel and the preparation  of  a study report is planned.

The color photographs are of excellent  quality, showing considerable
detail in water and water-oil  characteristics, as well as the major
operations on the water.  Black and  white  mosaics made from the color
photos lost considerable quality  as  many of the features with good
color contrast had similar light  densities.  The slick can be seen in
the B & W photos but much information is lost.  Perhaps some of the
benefits of color photography  can be saved at a lower cost, by filtering
and producing B & W prints at  several different light frequency bands.

8.2.2  USCG Program

The USCG (5) arranged with NASA for  a short series of flights over the
spill area, coordinated  with ground  truth  observations.  The flights
were made during the afternoon and evening of March 16, 1970.

Equipment (6) - An NP3A  aircraft  was used.

Data acquisition systems:

RC-8 metric camera - color 1R


RC-8 metric camera - color
KA 62 - multiband camera cluster - B&W/filtered to blue-green
RS-14 dual channel infrared scanner - 3.5 to 5.0 microns, and
8 to 14 microns
Scatterometer (13.35 GHz)
PRT 5 radiometer (8 to 14 microns)

At this writing the data is being analyzed by the USCG in Washington
and a report of this study is planned.

All imagery is reported to be excellent, the color IR is considered to
be the most useful, with the greatest number of observable features at
high contrast.  This includes those seen in normal color photography
as well as additional temperature effects delineating some water

The "UV"  (blue-green) photos showed a much wider slick (thinner oil)
than the  IR scanner records, however, the IR records provide a greater
number of features in both the water and oil.

No comments were made concerning the other data which is under analysis.

Flights were flown along the path of the oil slick, which on March 16,
headed northwest from the platform past the islands and into Breton

8.2.3  Remote Sensing, Inc. Program (7)

Equipment:  Aircraft - Fan jet Falcon, Cessna 337

Data Obtained:

Multispectral photography, B&W, B&W infrared, Color, Color IR, Infrared
line scanner 1.3 to 5.5 microns - 8 to 14 microns, Microwave radiometer
(13.7 GHz dual polarization)

Flight dates:  March 11, 12, 14, 22, 25

Flight altitudes:  2,000; 10,000; 25,000 feet.

According to a company representative, all data was good quality.  The
most useful records were the infrared line scanner and the microwave
radiation.  The company clains to have modified their IR scanner
equipment to provide better resolution than normally available
(Figures 11 and 12).  Flights were flown along oil slick paths.

The flights were made on speculation, however, at this time no buyer
has materialized.  The data is on hand at the Company office in Houston.

8.2.4  Evaluation

The major drawbacks  to  the  use  of  aerial  photography and remote sensing
techniques are the time involved in getting  the  results to the people
in the field.  Much  of  the  information gathered  would have been of value
to the pollution control operations, if it could have been made available
in near-real-time to them.

When each of  the remote sensing groups was interviewed, they were
asked whether real-time transmission of the  flight data to an oil
operations center was within the state of the art  today; each replied
affirmatively.  The  photography could be  duplicated and transmitted
using TV techniques  and the scanner data  could be  transmitted with
conventional  telemetry.  Both would require  advanced equipment.  The
USGS representative  indicated that scanner data  could be  transmitted
with their navigation link.

As utilized in  this  spill incident, the remote data was "For the Record"
in the  case of  the USGS, for experimentation (USCG), and  (Remote Sensing,
Inc.) again for the  record.  When used for documentation, the data is
not  complete, as  flights were generally restricted to  the then-visible
slick path and  did not attempt to map the entire area (e.g., recording
old  slicks and chronic spills as well as  the new surface plume).


   8-14 MICRON RANGE --FLIGHT AT 10,000 FEET, I 30PM .MARCH 11,1970


   8-14 MICRON RANGE — FLIGHT AT 35,000 FEET,4 30 P.M., MARCH I 1,1970

                          8.0  REFERENCES
1.  Personal Communication, Comdr. C. T. Hesse, U. S. Coast Guard,
Division 8, New Orleans, Louisiana

2.  Personal Communication, Mr. Charles Davidove, Deputy Director,
EROS Program, U. S. Geological Survey, Washington, D. C.

3.. Personal Communication, Mr. Skibitzke, U. S. Geological Survey,
Phoenix, Arizona

4.  Battelle Northwest, July 1969, "Review of Santa Barbara Channel
Oil Pollution Incident", Water Pollution Control Research Series,

5.  Personal Communication, Dr. Clarence Catoe, U. S. Coast Guard,
Washington, D. C.

6.  Personal Communication, Mr. Leo Childs, NASA Manned Space Center,
Houston, Texas

7.  Personal Communication, Dr. E. G. Werraund,  Remote Sensing Inc.,
Houston, Texas


9<1  Biological Survellance and  Sampling  Programs Carried Out

9.1.1  Federal Water Quality Administration  (FWpA)

The FWQA does not have any on-going biological sampling program in the
region of the current oil spill.  As a  special project during this
period, FWQA personnel took water samples at several levels on a number
of transects of the area and one 360° survey around the rig (Figure 13).
These samples were primarily taken for  chemical analyses, but several
of the water samples were delivered to  Dr. Sam P. Meyers, a micro-
biologist at LSU, Baton Rouge.   Dr. Meyers found that the oil contained
in these samples apparently was  serving as an energy source for numerous
yeasts and bacteria present in the sample, and that the oil was in the
process of natural degradation.(1)

In addition to surveillance from boats, FWQA personnel made twice-daily
overflights of the rig and surrounding  areas to determine if extensive
fish kill activity or harm to birds in  the area had occurred.  No fish
or bird kills were reported during the  period of the oil spill.

9.1.2  Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC)

The Oysters, Water Bottoms and Seafoods Division of the LWFC maintains
on-going biological surveillance in the area of the current oil spill.
The area is designated Coastal Study Area II and is defined by Bayou
Terre aux Boeufs on the northeast and by  Grand Bayou on the west. (2).
The area on the east side of the Mississippi River includes the following
major water systems:  Breton Sound, Black Bay, Bay Gardene, Little Lake,
Bay Crabe, American, California  Bay, Quarantine Bay and Grand Bay.
Salinities range from medium to  low in  the upper marsh zone and from
medium to high in the lower part of this  area.  Much oil activity is
found in and around Breton Sound and adjoining bays with many pipelines,
oil wells, platforms, storage tanks and access canals located in this
general area.

The area west of the river includes the following major bays:  Bay Adams,
Bay Bastian, Bay Pomme d'Orr, Scofield  Bay, Bay Jacques, Skipjack Bay,
Sandy Point Bay and Bay Lanaux.  This area is nearest in the westward sweep
of the Mississippi River, and retains salinities in the medium ranges.
It possibly ranks highest in the production of fishes and crustaceans
of any of the areas along the Louisiana Coast. A description of Coastal
Area II and its biological resources can  be found in Appendix C (pages

During the current oil spill this Division took samples of oysters
growing in the affected area on  several occasions, for special
organoleptic analysis, in addition to continuing their on-going
biological programs.  There was  no evidence of oil contamination



FIG. 13

reported in the special samples taken.

The Water Pollution Control Division of the LWFC maintains on-going
surveillance of streams and river channels in the delta region for the
presence of oil and other pollutants.

9.1.3  Chevron Oil Company

The Chevron Oil Company has contracted with local ecologists to under-
take an extensive field biological survey program.  This program was
undertaken during the last days of the uncontrolled oil spillage, and
the results have not been made available at this time.  Prior to this
program, Dr. John G. Hacking, a marine biologist from Texas A & M
University, visited the area on February 22, 1970 at the invitation of
the Chevron Company.

9.1.4  Louisiana State Department of Health. Bureau of Environmental

The Bureau of Environmental Health maintains an on-going program
responsible for determining water quality in terms of toxicological
and parisitological parameters of public health importance related to
the Louisiana shellfish industry.

9.1.5  U. S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries

The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries office in New Orleans, Louisiana
maintains statistical data on Louisiana seafood catches.  This is an
on-going program which obtains records from processors.

9.1.6  Department of Food Science. Louisiana State University

The Department of Food Science and Technology, LSU, maintains an on-
going program, in conjunction with other state agencies, to assess the
organoleptic quality of Louisiana oysters and shrimp.

9.2  Hazard Potential of Oil Spills on the Biological Resources of the

The biological hazards of oil in the marine and estuarine environments
have been considered in great detail  (3 through 6) and the general
conclusion reached is that oil spilled in the open sea does not
constitute as severe a hazard as it does in a confined shallow bay or
estuarine marsh.  In shallow bays and estuaries such as the Breton
Sound area, evidence exists that fish and shellfish might suffer
varying degrees of harm in the event that oil did penetrate and persist
in the environment even for short periods of time (5).

The chemical emulsifiers have been shown to have varying degrees of
toxicity to selected organisms in acute bioassay tests.  Chemically
dispersed oil has been shown to be much more toxic to selected


organisms than either the oil  or the  chemical  dispersant  (7),  There
would certainly be detrimental effects,  at  least  in  some  organisms, in
the event that these chemicals and the dispersed  oil reached their
biologically critical levels as a function  of  application time and
concentration.  The acute toxic manifestations might be lethal or sub-
lethal depending both on the organisms involved and  other prevailing
environmental parameters.

The effects of chemically dispersed oil  on  the dissolved  oxygen content
of a water body must also be considered, as both  the oil  and the
dispersant may represent a  significant BOD  load  (8). Reduced oxygen
levels could present a  hazard  to organisms  in  this water  body, with low
mobility if mixing and  dispersion are low.

What has not been fully investigated  is  the problem  of chronic applica-
tions of these materials in the biosphere and  their  subsequent effect
on the total ecology.   Another area little  understood at  present is the
potential for insidious long term effects on the  biosphere due to short
term sublethal intoxications.   Both of these deserve more attention
since the application of these chemical  dispersants  is being recommended
by their manufacturers  for  both exceptional and chronic oil spills, the
first instance represented  by  a major spill as considered in this report
and the second by the chronic  spills  which  occur  daily at functioning
rigs in the form of oily water wastes.

9.3  Ecological Considerations

The relationship of offshore oil development to specific  ecological
changes is difficult, if not impossible, to support  technically at this
time.  Yet, in the past decade, coupled  with an explosive development
of the offshore oil industry and subsequent increase in chronic oil
pollution in the Louisiana  area there have  also been extensive
ecological upheavals.   Some of these, such  as  the changes in mammalian
populations, have been  due  at  least in part to introduction of new
species and natural disasters.  Other instances,  like the decrease in
the production of the 1964-65  shrimp  year classes despite increased
postlarvae reaching the nursery grounds; shrimp kills in  cultivated
ponds in 1967 associated with  fish kills in the area; disappearance of
the brown Pelican, and  several years  of  poor manhaden catches after
reported fish kills in  1964-65 are suggestive  of  some environmental
imbalance.  Finally, conditions associated  with oyster-grass die-off
suggest that pollution  may  be  a direct factor  (See Appendix C, pages 127
to 128).

9.4  Fate of the Spilled Oil

Reports of the increased frequency of observation of petroleum lumps on
the surface of the sea  suggest that at least some of the  heavier oil
fractions may persist for a considerable time.  In studies made in the
eastern North Atlantic  Ocean and the  Mediterranean Sea, petroleum lumps
of minimum age estimated from  weeks to months  were found  (9).  The age


data was obtained from chemical analyses of the lighter petroleum
fractions present in the Ittmps, and also from biological data related to
the flora and fauna growing on the lumps.  No quantitative technique was
available to estimate the maximum age of these lumps.

In a recent work (10) oil is shown to persist in the sediments of
Buzzards Bay to the detriment of the indigenous biota.  Oil in the
sediment is characteristic of areas of chronic oil pollution.

However, other field observations indicate that the major portion of
polluting oil does not persist very long in marine environments in
and around the Breton Sound area, nor in the open oceans of the world
(11, 12).  Reduction in oil is attributed to the evaporation of the more
volatile fractions, and to the abundance of biochemical activities of
a large variety of oil-oxidizing micro-organisms which are in highest
concentration in areas of chronic oil spills (13).  In laboratory tests
using 15 different crude oil samples from Louisiana wells, it has been
observed that all of these samples were susceptible to bacterial
oxidation and were more than 50% oxidized after 28 day at 25° C.  From
50-100% of the oil was eventually oxidized to C02 and water (13).
Oxygen does not seem to be the limiting factor in the rate of oil
oxidation.  It appears that the levels of mineral constituents in the
environment are most important (13).  In addition to oxidizing the oil
present in the sea, bacteria and other micro-organisms increase in
numbers and thus a portion of the energy of the oil is passed up the
food chain to protozoans and other marine life (14).  There is a
possibility that certain toxic or carcinogenic hydrocarbons are also
passed up the food chain.

Recent work indicates that increased bacterial growth and the decom-
position of oil into products exhibiting no toxicity occurs within 48
hours  (14).  Yet another study shows that oil incubated with bacteria
under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions produced products more
toxic than the original oil (15).  While this last study implies that
the increased toxicity is due to decomposition products of the oil, no
control samples were run to eliminate the possibility that organisms
producing endogenous toxins, proliferated in the media.

The apparent discrepancies in the two studies cited above are probably
due to a large number of possible variables.  A few of the most
important are:  type of oil, types of decomposition and test organisms,
fresh or salt water, among others,

9.5  Potential for Ecological Upset and Public Health Hazard

The toxic dinoflagellate, Gymnodinium breyis^ and others (6), are known
to exist in the area of the spill, and can cause human intoxication
when oysters, made toxic by feeding on these organisms are subsequently
consumed.  In addition, toxic dinoflagellates are known to produce
extensive fish kills.

A potential energy contribution of the oil serving as an organic


nutrient  (13, 14) during  the  current spill,  coupled by the wells' close
proximity to the inorganic nutrient laden Mississippi waters  are unique
factors which could  contribute to the explosive growth of a toxic marine
organism with resultant red tides, fish kills and possible human intoxi-

In addition to  the current oil spill being considered, the many thousands
of producing wells in the area issuing small chronic spills may cause a
continuous problem of this nature.  It has been estimated that a typical
offshore  well has an effluent rate of 2,500 barrels of oily water per
day.   With oil  present at about 1,000 ppm, this represents 2.5 barrels
of oil per day  from  each  well.  In short, the problem of oil  pollution
from  offshore wells  is not only one of spillage but also one  of the
cumulative effects of a continuous discharge of oily water effluent.

Oil pollution  in Louisiana may play a major role in the energy relation-
ships in  the area and constitute both an enrichment and a potential

9.6   Assessment of Damage to Biological Resources in the Breton Sound
Area  Due  to the Current Oil Spill at Chevron MP41C Platform

From  reported  gross  observations and data gathered by local  and federal
agencies, it would  appear that there was little or no evidence of any
acute biological problems that were precipitated by the current oil
spill. What  is still to be determined, however, are the possible long-
term  effects of acute exposure to the polluting oil and chemical
residues  in  the area.

However,  there are  several factors associated with the current oil
spill which mitigate against the findings of any substantial  biological
damage.   These are  comprised of both physical and biological  events.

First, the effect  of spring flood stage, coupled with favorable currents
and winds in the area of the spill apparently did not allow substantial
amounts of oil or  chemicals to reach the biologically productive back
bay and delta  areas.  Secondly, timely biological phenomena limited
unfavorable  effects.  Major bird migrations had already been  completed,
leaving a reduced  resident bird population; oysters and crabs had not
yet spawned; and adult menhaden had not yet entered the vicinity for
spring feeding.  The spill did, however, coincide with the peak time of
arrival of postlarval shrimp migrating into the marsh areas.

Other factors  limiting the unfavorable effects of the current spill
included  the  fact  that the commercial menhaden and inshore shrimp seasons
had not yet  started.  If these were in progress, regardless of the lack
of toxicological effects  on these species, there is the very  strong
likelihood that the  fishermen's gear would have been fouled by the
spilled oil  resulting in economic hardships, and inability to harvest
the biological resource.   The tainting of seafood with an oil taste,

whether real or imagined has a detrimental market effect, during and
some time after a large spill.

The potential public health hazards due to enrichment of,the environ-
ment with oil represents an area that has not been fully considered in
the current oil pollution literature.  It would appear that in inshore
areas there could be a significant local enrichment leading to blooms
of noxious organisms that might result in fish kills and food poisoning.
At the same time, since organisms vary in their sensitivity to oil,
important food organisms in the food web might be inhibited, causing
ecological repercussions, and further compounding the effect of noxious
organisms' blooms.  In this case, it should be made clear that direct
toxicity of the oil or chemicals used for dispersion are not considered
to b$ the important toxic factors, and yet the final outcome could pro-
duce environmental and public health hazards of major importance.

                          9.0  REFERENCES
 1.   Personal Communication, Professor Sam P. Meyers, Department of
 Food Sciences & Technology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge,

 2,   Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, 12th Biennial Report
 1966-1967.  LWLFC, New Orleans, La. pp. 232

 3.   Hoult, D. P., Ed., 1969.  "Oil on the Sea", Plenum Press, New York
 pp. 114

 4.   Oil Pollution of the Sea 1968.  Proc. Int. Conf. Rome, Wykeham
 Press, Winchester, England pp. 414

 5.   Oil Spillage Study Literature Search and Critical Evaluation for
 Selection of Promising Techniques to Control and Prevent Damage, 1967.
 Battelle Memorial Institute pp. 239

 6.   Baslow, M. H., 1969 "Marine Pharmacology", Williams and Wilkins Co.
 pp. 286

 7.   Mills, E. R., Jr. 1970, "The Acute Toxicity of Various Crude Oils
 and Oil Spill Removers on Two Genera  of Marine Shrimp", M. S. Thesis,
 L.S.U. pp. 36

 8.   Canevari, G. P. 1970, Corexit 7664 Oil Dispersant, Status of
 Toxicities Evaluations, Esso Research & Engineering Co.

 9.   Horn, M. H., J. M Teal, T. H. Backus, 1970.  "Petroleum Lumps on
 the Surface of the Sea", Science 168;  245-246

10.   Blumer, M.,  Soriza, G., Sass, J. 1970.  "Hydrocarbon Pollution of
Edible Shellfish  by an Oil Spill", Marine Biology, 5.:  195

11.   Moss, J. E., 1963.  "Character and Control of Sea Pollution by
Oil", American Petroleum Institute, Div. of Trans., Washington, D. C.
pp.  124

12.   Combatting Pollution Created by Oil Spills:  Methods, 1969, A.D.
Little, Inc. p. 151

13.   Zobell, C. E., and J. F. Prokop, 1966 "Microbial oxidation of
mineral oils in Barateria Bay bottom deposits", Z. Mlg. Mikrobiol.
6.:  143-162

14.   Ahearn, D. G., Meyers, S. P. and Standard, P. G. 1970.  '^The Role
of Yeasts in the  Decomposition of Oils in Marine Envoronments  ,
Developmental Industrial Microbiology", 12 (in press).


15.  Brown, L. R., Tlscher, R. G. 1969, "Decomposition of Petroleum
Products in Our Natural Waters", Water Resources Research Inst.,
Mississippi State Univer.

                        10.0  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The principal sources of information were:

Federal Agencies

The Federal Water Quality Administration
The U. S. Geological Survey
The U. S. Coast Guard
The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries
The U. S. Weather Bureau
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

State of Louisiana Agencies

Wildlife & Fisheries Commission
Department of Conservation
Department of Health


Louisiana State University  (LSU)
Tulane University


The Chevron Oil Company
Remote Sensing, Inc.


Numerous technical publications and newspaper articles individually cited
in section references.  Mr. John Nordell of the New Orleans Time-
Picayune Library was most helpful.

Special recognition is given  to Mr. Jerry T. Thornhill and Mr. Charles
Gazda of FWQA, who gave invaluable assistance and cooperation to The
Documentation Team on the scene, and to Mr. George Putnicki, Project
Officer, FWQA, who provided important guidance.  Dr. Thomas Murphy of
FWQA provided much early information and guidance which permitted the
team to rapidly enter into effective field operations.  He also provided
valuable critical comments on the draft of this report.


Dr. Donald G. Ahearn, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Georgia State
University, Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Mr. William Altenberg, Altenberg, Kirk & Co., Portland, Maine

Mr. Charles Bishop, Bureau of Environmental Health, Louisiana Department
of Health, New Orleans, Louisiana

Dr. Clarence Catoe, U. S. Coast Guard, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Charles Chapman, Chief, Branch of Environmental Protection and
Development, Bureau,of Commercial Fisheries, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Leo Childs, Earth Resources Section, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center,
Houston, Texas

Dr. J. Coleman, Asst. Director, Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana
State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mr. Charles Davidove, EROS Program, U. S. Geological Survey, Washington,
D. C.

Comdr. D. H. Dickson, U. S. Coast Guard, Division 8, New Orleans,

Mr. Robert Evans, Regional Supervisor, U. S. Geological Survey, New
Orleans, Louisiana

Dr. Ted B. Ford, Chief, Oysters, Water Bottoms and Seafoods Division,
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mr. Charles Gazda, FWQA, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mr. W. H. Haggard, U. S. Weather Bureau, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mr. Robert Hare, Pilot, New Orleans, Louisiana

Comdr. Hesse, U. S. Coast Guard, Division 8, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mr. Elster Laborde, Bureau of Environmental Health, Louisiana State
Department of Health, New Orleans, Louisiana

Dr. Robert LaFleur, Chief, Water Pollution Control Division, Louisiana
Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mr. Edward F. Lee, FWQA, Dallas, Texas

Mr. J. Lowenhaupt, Deputy Regional Supervisor, Oils & Minerals Branch,


U. S. Geological Survey, New Orleans,  Louisiana

Dr. W. G. Mclntire, Director,  Coastal  Studies  Institute, Louisiana
State University,  Baton Rouge,  Louisiana

Dr. Sam P. Meyers, Professor,  Department of  Food Sciences & Technology,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Dr. Thomas Murphy, Chief,  Oil  & Hazardous Materials,  Research and
Development,  Edison Water  Quality Laboratories, Edison, New Jersey

Mr. Stephen Murray, Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana State University,
Baton Rouge,  Louisiana

Mr. R. A. Naylor,  U.  S. Army Corps of  Engineers, New  Orleans, Louisiana

Dr. Arthur F. Novak,  Head, Department  of Food  Sciences, Louisiana State
University, Baton  Rouge,  Louisiana

Mr. George Putnicki,  Director,, Research, Development  and Administration,
South Central Region, FWQA, Dallas, Texas

Mr. Durwood Simpson,  U.  S. Geological  Survey,  Lafayette, Louisiana

Mr,  Skibitzke, U.  S.  Geological Survey, Phoenix, Arizona

Dr. A.  E.  Smalley, Department  of Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans,

Mr. George  Snow,  Bureau of Commercial  Fisheries, New  Orleans, Louisiana
Mr.  Jerry T.  Thornhill,  Contingency Plan Officer, FWQA, Dallas,  Texas

Dr.  E.  G.  Wermund, Remote Sensing, Inc., Houston, Texas

Mr.  Curtiss Wright,  Johns-Manville Inc., New York, N. Y.


The Chevron MP41C platform  (Fig.  A.I)  is  oceanographically located in a
transition zone between  the fresh turbid  Mississippi  River water and the
salt waters of the Gulf  of  Mexico.   Water currents here are formed and
influenced by a complex  interaction of a  large number of variables of
river stage, wind direction, tides and general oceanic circulation.

Two major works  (1),  (2), describe most of the current knowledge of the
area's oceanography and  this section is drawn in good part from them.

The Coastal Studies Institute of  LSU had  a graduate student working in
the passes of the East Delta at the time  of the  spill, and extended their
coastal studies  (supported  by ONR)  to the spill  site  under contract to
USCG.  This group performed their work from a USCG cutter and helicopter
on an "as available" basis.

Measurements were made of:

a - Surface, mid-water and  bottom currents
b - Salinities and temperatures
c - Tides and waves
d - Some aerial  infrared and color photographs

On March 16, this group  performed "ground truth" observations in
coordination with USCG - NASA remote sensing flights  (see Sect. 8.0) (3).

The observations and  conclusions  of the L. S. U. study are similar to
those formed by  the documentation group.  (4)

The following description of the  circulation east of  the Mississippi
Delta is adapted mainly  from the  excellent, comprehensive work by P. C.
Scruton  (1) to which  the reader is referred for  a far more detailed

The circulation  in the region east of the Mississippi Delta is typical of
that in areas where a continuous  supply of fresh water is being mixed with
salt water, and has the  following characteristics:

a)  It is a two  layered  regime superposed on tidal oscillations and wind
currents.  The average surface current flows seaward, and the average deep
current flows landward.   This is  caused by hydraulic  head and density

b)  There is a seaward increase of surface salinity and a landward decrease
of bottom-water  salinity.

c)  There is a net transport of fresh water seaward in the surface layers,
and a net transport of salt water in the  opposite direction in the deep
layers.  Salt exchange between these two  layers  takes place by turbulent



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diffusion and vertical flow of salt water.

d)  Bottom salinity at any point varies with the tide - increasing  on
the flood and decreasing on the ebb.

e)  The vertical salinity gradient depends on the river discharge and
on the wind speed.  This type of circulation pattern is called estuarine
because it was first described for estuaries.  An estuary is defined as:
"...a semi-enclosed coastal bodyvof water having a free connection  with
the sea, and within which the sea water is measurably diluted with  fresh
water." (5)  In most estuaries there is a single major fresh water  input
(e. g. The Potomac River into Chesapeake Bay) however, in this area,
fresh water is supplied to the system from many outlets of the
Mississippi on the east shore of the delta.  Because of this continuous
supply of fresh water, there must be a continuous seaward distribution.
Fig. 14 shows the principal features of the circulation east of the
Mississippi Delta.  The primary axis of circulation parallels the delta
shores, and the primary direction of net seaward transport is eastward.
There are also indirect, secondary connections with the gulf northward
through Breton and Chandeleur Sounds, and just south of Cosier Island.
Since the primary axis is the shortest and most direct route to the open
gulf, since it is relatively wide and deep, and since it is the locus
of the main tidal currents, it probably transports some fresh water
seaward at all times.  The secondary axes never transport the volume
that the primary axis does.  These are most active in the presence  of
easterly and southerly winds, and are inactive in the presence of
northerly winds.  The secondary axis west of Breton Island is favored by
large tidal ranges, that to the east by low tidal ranges.

According to Walsh (2) the following factors influence, in varying
degrees, both the short and long term variations in the river outflow

1.  River discharge
2.  Local wind field
3.  Littoral currents in the vicinity of the delta
4.  The local climatology (precipitation, frequency of storms, cloudiness,
5.  Gulf (oceanic) circulation in the region
6.  Tides
7.  Wave action
8.  Coriolis force

Currents in the inshore area are due mainly to tides, wind, and river
discharge.  Other current-producing factors seem to have little effect.
The net transport is due to the wind and discharge components, since
tidal currents produce no net movement over a tidal cycle.

The highest current speeds are found in the channels and the passages
between the islands, and the lowest are found in the open waters of
Breton Sound.   The surface currents are usually faster than bottom


                                                                                             V V SMALL NUMBERS EQUAL MILES PER
                                                     90°         88°          86°
                                                   FIGURE 15  -OCEANIC CIRCULATION

currents.  Both surface and bottom currents have preferred directions of
flow which are normally parallel or sub-parallel.  But under some
conditions - mainly near the mouths of the outlets - the surface and
bottom currents may flow in substantially different or even directly
opposite directions.

The tides are diurnal, i.e., only one high and one low water each day.
Tidal currents speeds depend on the tidal range  (which varies periodi-
cally with lunar phases), and on the topography.  The tides are the
principal current producing forces in the waters east of the delta, and
the preferred currents are reversible in the sense that, in the absence
of other forces, the net motion during a full tidal cycle is nil.

In the channels on either side of Breton Island the tidal currents flow
into the sound on the flood and out on the ebbs.  To the west of Breton
Island the tidal currents are about the same at all depths, but to the
east of the island there is some indication that on the flood the deeper
currents are stronger, whereas on the ebb the surface currents are
stronger.  On the east and north shores of the delta, the surface tidal
currents are generally parallel to the shore.  The actual times of the
beginning of flood or ebb tide at various points in the east delta
embayment may differ from the time of high or low water at Passe a Loutre,
shown in Figures 16 through 24, by several hours. (6)

If the tidal components of the current are subtracted, the residual
surface currents are found to be generally in the direction of the wind
with a seaward component.  The residual deep currents are slower and
usually directed away from the sea.

Wind currents are caused by wind stress on the sea surface, wind induced
mass transport of waves, and the piling up of water along the shore when
the winds are suitably directed.  An empirical relationship predicts
that the speed of the surface current due to wind stress will be about
two or three per cent of the wind speed.  Scruton's experiments in the
inshore delta indicate that this is a minimum value.  However, these
results are based on experiments made with current sensors which,
because of their size, must average the current over several inches or
more, and which usually must be placed at least several inches below the
surface.  Recent experiments using dye and drift cards (as flotsam)
indicate that the wind induced speed of the top  few millimeters is
substantially larger than that of a foot or so deeper, and the wind
induces alternate low and fast moving bands in the topmost layers that
are related to the formation of windrows (7).  Tomczak (8), experimenting
in the North Sea, determined that the wind induced drift velocity in the
surface layers is about 4.2% of wind speed.  Stroop (9) found the
average drift for fuel oil to be about 4% of wind speed.  The amount of
fluctuation of the currents from the average direction is also related
to the wind.  Apart from the changes in current  direction associated
with tidal changes, the deviations of current direction from wind
direction are much less when winds are strong than when they are weak.
Changes in wind direction and speed quickly produce changes in the


surface currents.

Fresh water emerges  from the outlets into the gulf with initial speeds
of 0.5 to 3.0 knots  depending on river discharge and tidal stage.
e^rTy.thr°U8h May iS the period of hjLSh river discharge, and about
5JX of the total annual discharge occurs during this time.  Under
moderately high discharge the maximum surface currents occur just
seaward of the channel mouths, where the vertical salinity gradient is
sharpest.  Down stream of this point, in the gulf, there is a decrease
in the vertical salinity gradient and a corresponding decrease in the
surface current speed; the surface layer of brackish water thins and
spreads laterally  as its salinity increases.  The areas just seaward of
the orifices, where  these processes take place, are sites of large scale
horizontal turbulence, which dissipates the momentum of the issuing water.
Vertical turbulence, though of smaller scale, is probably even more
effective in  dissipating the momentum of the effluent.  Vertical
turbulence is increased by high winds and large velocity differences
between adjacent  layers.  Under ideal conditions, (low winds, gulf water
moving in the same direction as the effluent) the momentum current may
persist for up to  25 miles beyond the channel mouths, but this is rare.
Under unfavorable  conditions the momentum current is destroyed within
less than a mile  of  the orifice.  However, river discharge always
strongly affects  the circulation in the vicinity of  the delta by
creating sloping  pressure surfaces due to its hydrodynamic head and its
alteration of the  density distribution.

Under high discharge conditions (greater than 750,000 - 800,000 CFS) no
sea water enters  the channels, and fresh water flows seaward at all
depths regardless of the tide.  Under low discharge  conditions surface
fresh water flows  outwards over a layer of denser upstream flowing salt

This is known as  a "salt wedge", and is a common, though not universal,
feature of estuarine circulation.  Salt water enters most freely through
the deep dredged  channels, but apparently also enters all others under
approximately the  same conditions.  The salt water entering through the
deeper channels mixes with river water above Head of Passes and is
discharged through all channels.  This current pattern is subject to
substantial modification by tides and wind.  During the crisis period,
the river discharge  was moderately high, averaging about 500,000 CFS.
Under these conditions the salt wedge was probably alternately intruded
and extruded  from the river mouths by the tides, and did not reach very
far upstream.

Differences in salt  content are the result as well as the cause of the
circulation patterns in this area.  The salt content changes as a result
of mixing of  gulf  and river water by turbulence due to wind  waves and
all types of  flow.  It influences the circulation by establishing the
density gradients  which cause the pressure surface to slope.   (SwP«**
matter also affects  the bulk water density, and, under certain conditions,
may become a  significant factor, but the average concentration of


suspended matter, probably less than 0.1 gm/1, is small compared to that
of dissolved substances.)  Within a relatively short distance of the
distributory mouths the effect of river discharge on the local circula-
tion comes about mainly through the salinity differences that it has

The range of salinities in any particular area is related to its position
with respect to the sources of fresh water, to the current system, and
to the winds.  In the surface waters northwest of Main Pass the salinity
usually decreases on the flood tide and increases on the ebb, while to
the east, surface salinity decreases on the ebb tide and increases on
the flood.  This implies a net flow of surface water into Breton Sound
to the west of Breton Island and out of the sound to the east of Breton
Island.  The range of bottom salinities throughout Breton Sound is large,
but the values are always less than that of Gulf water.  However, at any
one location in the sound, the salinity variations with time are rela-
tively small.  South of Breton and Cosier Islands the salinity fluctua-
tions are less than those in the waters of the main circulation axis
adjacent to the shore of the delta, and the salinity regimen is similar
to that inside Breton Sound.

The amount of material in suspension is controlled by the river discharge
and the distance from shore.  It generally decreases to a small value
several miles offshore, but, under certain conditions, plumes of turbid
water may extend up to 65 miles from the mouths of the major passes.
The direction of the plumes is controlled mainly by the wind, but is
also influenced by the current pattern.  In the plumes the color change
is generally gradual along the axis of elongation and much sharper
transverse to this axis.  (10)

In general the turbidity contours roughly parallel the salinity contours,
but the turbidity gradient is directed opposite to the salinity gradient.
The most turbid water resides in a well defined surface layer which is
only a few feet  thick over wide areas.  Frequently ships, even those
having shallow drafts, will stir up clear water in their wakes when
passing through region of high turbidity.

Perhaps the most striking features of this turbidity are the sharp
boundaries which are seen between water bodies of different color.
There are usually two or three such boundaries roughly paralleling the
shore of the delta.  Often, but not always, there is a considerable
amount of floating debris associated with these boundaries.  This occurs
when one water mass is flowing under another, less dense, water mass.
The flotsam on the sinking water cannot follow it, and becomes trapped
in the boundary region.  This type of flow is called a "convergence".

The main convergence zone has been given a name by the local boating
people; they call it "the rip".  This implies a certain degree of
prominence and durability; however, it may really be a feature which
occasionally breaks up and becomes re-established along roughly parallel
lones some distance away.  This would explain the presence of sharp


turbidity boundaries without  any associated  debris.  When the convergence
process stops, the  flotsam would be quickly  dispersed by even very light
winds, while the boundary between water masses would, especially under
calm condition, take hours to vanish due  to  turbulent diffusion.  Since
there is a  lot of flotsam in  this area, it is not  likely that a newly-
developed convergence  could exist for very long without trapping a
noticeable  quantity of it.

                       APPENDIX A REFERENCES
1.  Scruton, P. C. 1956  "Oceanography of Mississippi Delta Sedimentary
Environments" Bui. Amer. Soc. Pet. Geol. V. 40, No. 12

2.  Walsh, Don 1969  "Characteristic Patterns of River Outflow in
Mississippi Delta"  Texas A & M, Dept. of Oceanography, Ref. No. 69-8-7

3.  Personal Communication, Dr. W. G. Mclntire, Director, Coastal Studies
Institute, Louisiana State University

4.  Murray, S. P., W. G. Smith and C. T. Sonu 1970.  Oceanographic
Observations and Theoretical Analysis of Oil Slicks During the Chevron
Spill, March 1970, Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana State University

5.  Cameron, W. M. and D. W. Pritchard 1963.  "Estuaries in the Sea",
Vol. II, edited by M. N. Hill, Interscience Publishers, New York, P. 306-

6.  Tide Tables 1970, East Coast, North and South America.  U. S. Dept.
of Commerce, ESSA, U. S. Coast & Geodetic Survey.

7.  Katz, B., R. Gerard and M. Castin 1965  "Response of Dye Tracers to
Sea Surface Condition", J. Geophysical Res., V.70, No. 22

8.  Tomczak, G. 1964  "Investigations with Drift Cards to Determine the
Influence of Wind on Surface Currents", Studies on Oceanography, edited
by Kozo Yoshide, U. of Tokyo Press

9.  Stroop, D. V. 1927  "Report on Oil Pollution Experiments, Behavior
of Fuel Oil on the Surface of the Sea, U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau
of Standards, Wash., D. C.

10.  Scruton, P. G. and D. G. Moore 1953  "Distribution of Surface
Turbidity off Mississippi Delta", Bull. Amer. Soc. Pet. Geol., V. 37,
No. 10

                         AND  OIL SLICK OBSERVATIONS  	*"

Figures B.I through B.9  summarize and  tabulate the available background data
and events readily adapted  to this format.   Included are:

a.  Routine wind and sea state observations  made by the USCG aboard the
New Orleand lightship  located at the entrance to the Mississippi-Gulf
Outlet Channel about five miles  from MP41C  (29, 4N, 88.9°W).

b.  The tidal cycle at Passe  a Loutre, derived from the tide tables of
the USC&GS.

c.  Pollution observations  taken from  USCG & USGS SITREPS.

d.  Major operational  events  taken from USCG & USGS SITREPS.

Times in the figure are  Greenwich Mean Time  (GMT of Z):  add six hours
to GMT to get local time.   The pollution observations  are to be used
with caution as they are real-time visual reports and  estimates, and are
not derived from the aerial photos or  remote sensing data.  Winds are
shown in the conventional manner, in the direction from which they blow;
and the oil slick  (+)  notation is given as the direction from which it
flows, to conform with the  wind  notation.

The discussions which  follow  are based on information  developed in
previous sections.  The  results  of detailed  studies of the  aerial
reconnaissance and  the oceanographic observations  (USGS & USCG) are not
available at this writing.  These should provide additional quantitative
information regarding  the movement of  the oil.

The LSU Coastal Studies  Institute, working  for  the USCG reached the
following preliminary  conclusions early in  their program:

a)  The oil does not appear to cross boundaries in the water.
b)  The wind-driven currents  appear to be dominant with fresh water flow
and the tidal currents important but secondary.

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   TYPE**      T F   TF
     HEIGHT   "- 5

   TIDES AT     o.5
-0.5 -E

         TIME (GMT)  00  06  12  18 00 06  12  18  00 06

             DATE         30             31
                                              18  00  06
 18  00
 06  12   18
                                                     00 06  12

 18 00
            I  4M
            T   F
   4000 YDS. WIDE.
               *  I
                               « s
                                                                                                       FIG. 24


C.I.  General Biological Resources

The area involved  in  the present review comprises coastal marshes and
estuarine environments  considered to be important habitat areas for
fish and wildlife,  and  valuable nursery grounds  for offshore species.
This biological  resource forms the  basis for several important industries
including commercial  fisheries, sport fisheries, commercial fur production
and hunting  in addition to non-industrial pursuits such as basic
scientific investigation and educational opportunities offered by
wildlife refuges.

In addition, there is a great  potential in the deltaic area for the
extensive development of mariculture operations  to provide cultured
marine and brackish water  food organisms.

Louisiana ranks  first among  all states in area of important estuarine
habitat.  Shrimp,  for example, utilize the estuaries as nursery grounds,
and Louisiana consistently ranks first or second in shrimp production.
In 1969, the state was  first with a production of more than 52,000,000
pounds of headless shrimp  having a  dockside value in excess of
$33,400,000  (1).  Louisiana, the only state where oysters are harvested
the year round,  supplies 20  per cent of the total U. S. market.  Ten to
fifteen million  pounds  of  oysters are produced annually.  With the
exception of oil and  gas,  Louisiana's fisheries  are its largest industry,
and total production  of all  species often exceeds 1 billion pounds
annually.  The total  annual  value of all fishery operations is in the
$100 to $140 million  range.  For a  variety of reasons, many commercially
important species are underfished.   It appears that the blue crab
industry in  the  State could  certainly be developed to several times the
size of its  present $500,000 to $800;000 per year volume.  Fur and meat
products provided by  animals of the estuarine habitat are a several-
million-dollar per year business in Louisiana (2).

Louisiana's  principal capability for conducting  coastal and wetland
research is  concentrated in  two organizations, the Louisiana Wild Life
and Fisheries Commission and Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.
Utilizing the extensive marshlands  of its refuge systems as natural
laboratories and its  Marine  Laboratory at Grand  Terre for more controlled
work, the LWLFC  conducts numerous biological and ecological studies of
Louisiana's  wetlands.

C.2.  Refuges and Sanctuaries

C.2.1.  Delta National  Wildlife Refuge

Delta National Wildlife Refuge is situated on the Mississippi River
Delta in Plaquemines  Parish, Louisiana, 75 air miles southeast of New
Orleans (Figure  25 ).  The refuge contains 48,800 acres of Deltaic




marshes, shallow ponds within the marshes, passes, bayous, and canals.
It was established in 1935 primarily as a sanctuary and feeding and
resting habitat for large wintering populations of blue and snow geese
and more than 18 species of ducks.  In some years Delta Refuge winters
up to one million ducks and 350,000 geese.  It also is a sanctuary for
many other water birds, shore birds, white-tail deer, and alligators  (3).

The alluvial lands of the refuge are geologically new, having been
built up of Mississippi River silt during the last 300 years.  Topography
is typically deltaic, consisting of a series of low, unstable islands
cut by numerous channels, locally known as "passes", and bayous.  Solid
ground is confined to the immediate banks of the passes, which support
stands of willow, grounselbush, coffeebean, and other woody plants,
and coarse herbaceous plants.  Dogtooth-grass and deer-pea dominate
slopes of many pass banks.  From the tops of these natural levees the
land slopes gradually downward toward the interiors of the islands, its
fingers penetrating high marsh, low marsh, and floating marsh, and
terminating in open ponds.

The varied and changeable habitat of Delta Refuge shelters abundant
birds, mammals, fishes and reptiles of many species.  In summer, great
blue herons, Louisiana herons, little blue herons, yellow and black-
crowned night herons, common and snowy egrets, white and glossy ibises,
and various shore birds frequent shallow waters along ponds and passes
in their search for food.  Least and American bitterns, green herons,
rails and gallinules nest in the tangled vegetation.  Black skimmers,
willets, and terns are numerous.  The brown pelican, Louisiana's
State bird, once was observed in large numbers but is now infrequently

Delta is a principal wintering area of blue geese.  In mid-October the
vanguard arrives from remote breeding grounds in the far north.  The
most abundant ducks wintering at the refuge are the widgeon, gadwall,
pintail, shoveler, and green-winged teal.  These birds arrive in large
numbers in October also.  In September numerous blue-winged teal pass
through enroute to wintering grounds in the West Indies and Central and
South America.  The mottled duck is a year-round resident.

Migratory birds normally reach their greatest numbers in early December,
and complete their departures northward by the last of March.  Nesting
song bird populations are limited by the lack of attractive habitat.
Tree swallow migrations through the Delta area are exceptionally heavy.
The refuge marshes support a herd of whitetail deer.  Another mammal at
Delta is the nutria or coypu, a large aquatic rodent introduced from
South America.  It is vegetarian and chews herbaceous or woody plants
in the marshes, including desirable waterfowl food plants.  Since an
initial release of 50 on lands near the refuge in 1950, the population
has grown to such proportions - in excess of 50,000 animals by the early
1960s - that an annual harvest is necessary.  For several years removals
have been accomplished by local trappers under permit.  Trappers sell
both fur and meat.  The latter is utilized in preparing dog, cat and

domestic mink foods.

Raccoon are abundant  on all marsh areas and are often seen  during the
day.  Cottontails  abound in the thick herbaceous and  woody  cover along
pass banks.  Otter, mink, and opossum frequent refuge marshes, but are
seldom seen.  Ponds and bayous provide good alligator habitat.  The
Bureau of  Sport  Fisheries and Wildlife is currently engaged in efforts
to restore the alligator to the limits of the area it once  occupied.

The marshes change in character toward the Gulf as salinity increases,
through a  typical  succession which Includes intermediate marshes
characterized by Spartina patens (wiregrass), Eichinochloa  walteri
(wild millet), Scirpus californicus (bullwhip), and Cladium jamaicense
(sawgrass); brackish  marshes of wiregrass, Scirpus olneyjL (three corner
grass), Scirpus  robustus (coco) and Ruppia maritima (Widgeon grass); and
finally, in the  lower bay, saline marshes in which the predominant cover
is Spartina alterniflora (oyster grass) with occasional thickets of
Avicenia nitida  (black mangrove), Distichlis spicata  and jvnacus

Refuge ponds also  support heavy populations of garfish, catfish,.?buffalo,
mullet and shad.  Crappie and largemouth bass frequent some of the
fresher interior ponds.  Waters near the Gulf are inhabited by sheeps-
head, stingrays, crabs, shrimp, eels, redfish, flounder, speckled trout,
and a variety of other aquatic animals.

The refuge marshes,  interlaced with innumerable ponds, natural passes
and canals, form a mixing bowl for the fertile waters of the Mississippi
River and  the saline  waters of the Gulf.  As a result, the  refuge harbors
a rich variety of  fresh-water and marine fishes.

Studies conducted  from August 1963 to January 1965 revealed an abundance
of fresh-water and marine fishes cohabiting the refuge waters (4).  The
refuge is  of particular importance as a nursery ground for  several
species of high  commercial and sport value.  During the study period,
salinities ranged  from 0.05 to 15.20 parts per thousand with higher
salinities occurring  in ponds and passes north of Main Pass.  Salinities
were at a  minimum  in  the spring and summer and gradually increased in
the fall and winter.   Water temperatures varied seasonally  with extremes
of 11.1°C  to 35.5° C.  The temperature of pond waters was generally 1 to
2 degrees  higher than that of the passes.

This resulting fish list, Table  3 , representing 33  families and 75
species, has been  compiled by John R. Kelly, Jr., and Dudley C. Carver
who conducted the  above studies in cooperation with the Louisiana
Cooperative Fishery Unit and Louisiana State University.  Names of
fishes used in this list are in accordance with "A List of  Common and
Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States and Canada" (American
Fisheries  Society, 1960).  The species are listed as  to usual habitat
(freshwater-F or Marine-M), and as to abundance (abundant-a, common-c,
uncommon-u), and seasonal occurrence (spring-SP, summer-S,  fall-F, and


                              SPECIES                   JF or M   Sp S  F W

             CARANGIDAE--jacks, scads, pompanos
Crevalle jack, Caranx hippos                               M        c  c
Leather jacket, Oligoplites saurus                         M        c  c
             GERRIDAE-moj arras
Yellowfin mojarra, Gerres cinereus                         M      u u  u u
Freshwater drum, Aplodinotus grunniens                     F      c c  c c
Silver perch, Bairdiella chrysura                          M        c  c
Sand seatrout, Cynoscion arenarius                         M      c c  c c
Spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus                      M      c c  c c
Spot, Leiostomus xanthrurus                                M      c c  c c
Gulf kingfish, Menticirrhus littoralis                     M        u
Atlantic coraker, Micropogon undulatus                     M      a a  a a
Black drum, Pogonias cromis                                M        c  c c
Red drum, Sciaenops ocellata                               M        c  c c
Sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus                    M        c  c
Pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides                                M        c  c
             SCOMBRIDAE—mackerels and tunas
Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus maculatus                  M        u
Fat sleeper, Dormitator maculatus                         FM      a a  a a
Spinycheek sleeper, Eleotris pisonis                      FM      a a  a a
Lyre goby, Evorthodus lyricus                              M      c c  c c
Violet goby, Gobioides broussonetti                        M      c c  c c
Darter goby, Gobionellus hastatus
Sharptail goby, Gobionellus hastatus                       M      c c  c c
Freshwater goby, Gobionellus shufeldti                    FM      a a  a a
Spottail goby, Gobionellus stigmaturus                     M      u u  u u
Naked goby, Gobiosoma bosci                                M      c c  c c
Striped mullet, Mugil cephalus                            FM      a a  a a
Rough silverside, Membras martinica                        M        c  c
Tidewater silverside, Menidai beryllina                   FM      a a  a a
             BOTHIDAE—lefteye flounders
Bay whiff, Citharichthys spilopterus                       M      c c  c
Fringed flounder, Etropus crossotus                        M      c c  c
Southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma                M      a a  a
Lined sole, Achirus lineatus                               M           u
Hogchoker, Trinectes maculatus                             M      c c  c
Blackcheek tonguefish, Symphurus plagiusa                  M            u
Goldeneye, Hiodon alosoides                                F        u


                              SPECIES                   F or M  S£ £ £ W

             GYPRINIDAE—minnows and carps
Golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas                     F     c  c c c
Blacktail shiner, Notropis venustus                        F        u
River carpsucker, Carplodes carpio                         F     a  a a a
Smallmouth buffalo, Ictiobus bubalus                       F     u  u u u
Bigmouth buffalo, Ictiobus cyprinellus                     F     c  c c c
             ARIIDAE-sea catfishes
Gafftopsail catfish, Bagre marinus                         M          c c
Sea catfish, Geleichthys felis                             M        c c c
             ICTALURIDAE-freshwater catfishes
Blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus                           F     a  a a a
Yellow bullhead, Ictalurus natalis                         F     u  u u u
Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus                       F     u  u u u
             ANGUILLIDAE—Freshwater eels
American eel, Anguilla rostrata                           FM     a  a a a
Atlantic needlefish, Strongylura marina                    M        c c
Sheepshead minnow, Cyprinodon variegatus                  FM     c  c c c
Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis                          FM     c  c c c
Saltmarsh topminnow, Fundulus Jenkinsi                    FM     c  c c c
Starhead topminnow, Fundulus notti                         F     u  u u u
Rainwater killifish, Lucania parva                        FM     a  a a a
Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis                             F     u  u u u
Sailfin molly, Mollienesia latipinna                      FM     a  a a- a
             SYNGNATHIDAfc—seahorses, etc.
Gulf pipefish, Syngnathus scovelli                        FM     a  a a a
             SERRANIDAE—sea basses
White bass, Roccus chrysops                                F     c  c c c
Yellow bass, Roccus mississippiensis                       F     c  c c c
Gray snapper, Lutjanus griseus                             M          u
Warmouth, Chaenobryttus gulosus                            F     a  a a a
Orangespotted sunfish, Lepomis humilis                     F     u  u u u
Bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus^                              F     a  a a a
Gulf darter, Etheostoma swaini                             F        u


C.2.2.  Passe-a-Loutre Water Fowl Management Area

The 66,000 acre Passe-a-Loutre Waterfowl Management Area located at the
mouth of the Mississippi River, adjacent to the Delta National Wildlife
Refuge, provides some of the finest duck hunting offered in the state.
This tract of land was set up in 1921 by an Act of Legislature as a
public shooting area and is located at the extreme end of the Mississippi
Flyway in Plaquemines Parish to the west of the Chevron well MPC41.
Refer to Section C.2.1. for biological description of this area.

C.2.3.  Breton National Wildlife Refuge

Breton Island, Grand Cosier Island, and the Chandeleur Islands comprise
a major bird sanctuary for indigent and migratory birds in the area east
of the Mississippi River.  This extensive sanctuary lies due north of
the Chevron Platform MPC41.

 The  Gulf Island National Wildlife  Refuges consist of a number  of islands
 lying offshore  from  the State  of Louisiana  and Mississippi.  They were
 set  aside chiefly  for  the  protection  of migratory waterfowl and a variety
 of colonial nesting  birds  and  are  administered by the Bureau of Sport
 Fisheries and Wildlife, in the U.  S.  Department of the Interior.  Super-
 vised from a single  office in  Biloxi, Mississippi, there are three
 units:   Breton  National Wildlife Refuge in  St. Bernard and Plaquemines
 Parishes,  Louisiana, and Horn  Island  and Petit Bois National Wildlife
 Refuges  in Jackson County,  Mississippi.

 Breton National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1904.  It is in two
 parts:   Breton  Island  proper,  and  the long, crescentic chain of the
 Chandeleur Islands.  This  refuge,  off the northeastern part of the
 great Mississippi  River Delta,  contains 7,512 acres.

 Breton Island is actually  two  adjacent islands, with a combined length
 of 5 miles and  width of less than  1 mile.   The islands are about 12
miles  from the  Mississippi Delta.  They are partly covered by  a low
 growth of  black mangrove and black rush, and have shallow salt-water
marshes  on the  mainland side.   In  winter, waterfowl use the shallows
near the  islands,  and  in summer the beaches have nesting colonies of
 royal terns, Sandwich  terns, and black skimmers.  An oil company has
drilled  a  number of wells  in the bed  of the sea about the islands, and
has constructed an oil collection  station on the northern island.

The Chandeleur  Islands make up  the greatest part of the Breton Refuge.
They are a series of barrier islands  forming a crescent 35 miles long,
but averaging less than a mile  in  width.  Their northern end is almost
25 miles from the Mississippi  coast,  from which they are mainly visited.
They are low, with a fine sandy beach along the Gulf side, and fall off
on the Chandeleur Sound side into  a maze of ponds and inlets and marshes.
Their vegetation is similar to  that of Breton Island.  Shoals  along the


Sound side provide excellent wintering habitat  for  redhead ducks.  The
redheads find an abundance of  food here and when  the weather is rough
they can rest on the  interior  ponds.   In summer,  colonies of laughing
gulls, royal, Sandwich andvCaspian terns, and black skimmers are found
on the beaches, and common and snowy  egrets nest  in the mangroves.  The
islands are particularly favored by sea turtles looking for a place to
deposit their eggs.   Despite the islands' distance  from the mainland,
they are frequently visited by boat in spring and summer by fishermen
and picnickers.  During the late fall and winter  months they are closed
to human use to give  maximum protection to waterfowl.

Personnel  from the Gulf Island National Wildlife  Refuge system are
directly responsible  for surveillance of the Breton Island National

U. S. Coast Guard situation reports,  dated March  4, and March 17,
indicate some oil on  the beaches of Breton Island.  Contamination
estimated  on March 4  was approximately 20 barrels.  A clean-up crew
was maintained on Breton Island by the Chevron  Oil  Company during the
present oil spill.


C.3.1.  Gulf Menhaden Brevoortia Patronus

The menhaden is not normally  used for direct consumption; its catches
are processed  into meal, oil,  and condensed solubles.  The meal is rich
in protein and makes  an excellent food supplement for poultry, hogs,
mink, and  other  animals.  The  oil is  used in various  commercial products
including  paints,  soaps, and  lubricants  (5).

U. S. fishermen  catch more pounds of  menhaden each  year than any other
species.   Landings  for the Atlantic coast reached a record high in 1956
of about 1.6 billion  pounds,  valued at about $20  million.  In 1963,
the catch  began  to decline drastically.  Prior to 1963 most of the U. S.
catch was  made on  the Atlantic coast, but now more  menhaden  (chiefly II.
patronus.  the Gulf menhaden)  are caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

Menhaden normally occur in dense schools and are  caught mostly with
purse seines.  The  carrier vessels are fairly large;  most range from
100 to 200 feet  long.  Each can carry from 125  to over 350 tons of fish.
One common fishing technique  entails  the use of two 36-foot seine boats
that are carried to the fishing grounds on the  carrier vessel.  The purse
seine, about 200 fathoms long  and 10  fathoms deep,  is  placed aboard the
two smaller boats, half in each boat.  Increased  fleet efficiency has
been accomplished in  recent years by  using airplanes,  which spot schools
of menhaden and direct the setting of the nets  by radiotelephone.  The
seine boats, circling the school in opposite directions, let out the net
to surround the fish.  The bottom of  the net is then  closed, or pursed,
and its sides pulled  into the  boats with hydraulic  blocks until the catch
is concentrated.  The carrier  vessel  then pumps the catch into its hold.


Menhaden spawn in the ocean over the continental shelf.  Most spawning
apparently takes place during November to March.  An individual female
may spawn from 40,000 to 700,000 eggs, depending on the size of the
fish.  After fertilization, the eggs float near the surface and hatch
in about two days,  the larvae enter the estuarine nursery areas when
they are nearly 1 inch long and eventually move into the tributaries
near the upper limits of salt water where they transform from slender,
transparent individuals into deep-bodied juveniles resembling adult
menhaden.  From time of entry in January-February until autumn, when
seasonal chilling of the water apparently causes a general exodus,
about  8 months are spent in the shallow, inshore nursery areas.  Some
juveniles may overwinter in the sounds and bays particularly during
mild winters.  Yearlings and adults usually are associated with nearsfaore
waters but may appear in certain bays and lower estuaries.

When they metamorphose into juveniles, larval menhaden uodexgo extensive
changes particularly in their feeding and digestive structures.  The
larvae feed selectively on individual, planktonic animals, whereas the
juveniles and adults, whose gill arches support a basketlike sieve
capable of retaining very small organisms, are non-selective feeders
that obtain food by swimming with mouths gaped, filtering minute plants
and animals from the surface water.

Predation and parasitism are apparent, but their effects on the menhaden
resource are not known.  Menhaden are preyed upon by many other fishes
as well as by marine mammals and birds.  Bluefish, mackerels, sharks,
porpoises, and other carnivores often are seen near menhaden schools.
The menhaden is infected with various internal and external parasites.
The more conspicuous are the copepod crustacean which attaches itself
and forms egg cases that stream along the side or back of the fish, and
the isopod crustacean that attaches itself inside the fish's mouth, thus
giving rise to the local name "bugfish" for menhaden.

A number of environmental factors may affect the menhaden resource.
Extremely low winter water temperatures or pollution may cause heavy
mortalities of larvae and juveniles in the estuaries.  Also, conditions
in the ocean such as water temperature, salinity and food may influence
the distribution, movement, and even the success of spawning.

Menhaden grow rapidly during the first 3 years of life.  On the average,
fish in the catch weigh about a half pound as 1-year olds, nearly a
pound  as 3-year olds, and then grow less each year until reaching about
1-1/2 pounds as 9-year olds.

C.3.2.   Gulf Oyster Crassostrea virginica

 Three species of oysters are used commercially in the United States.
The Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, is the most abundant and is
found in brackish waters of the bays and inlets along the Atlantic and
Gulf coasts.  The tiny native Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) and the
large Pacific or Japanese oyster (Crassostrea gigas) are farmed along

S£f.«" x        *    Japanese  species  has  been  called the "immigrant
oyster  because  it was  introduced into the Pacific estuaries from Japan.
The young oyster, or "seed", is shipped from Japan each year and is
grown to harvestable size in American  waters.

In recent years, the total annual production of oysters from 19 coastal
    !8 5^ V^6d between 52 and 60 million pounds of meats valued at
    to $33 million to  the oyster harvester (6). Measured in another
*      i v°l«me  could  be estimated at  12 million bushels, or approximately
4" lono      ^dividual oysters.  The highest level of production, reported
in 1908, was 152 million pounds, or 2-1/2  times the  current yield.

The major factor in  the decline of the oyster is changes in the environ-
ment.  The destruction of growing areas by industrial and domestic
pollution, dredging, silting,  and shoreline housing  developments have
all taken their  tolls.   Another factor is  the variety of predators that
feed on oyster larvae  and small oysters.  The predators include jellyfish,
crabs, worms, fish and other shellfish. When they are fully grown, oysters
continue to  be food  for starfish, drills or boring snails, and certain
fish such as the so-called "black-drum" and skates.

In the last  10 years,  biologists have  become increasingly aware of a
number of protozoan  parasites  that cause oyster mortalities.  The most
destructive, MSX (Minchinia nelsoni),  has  drastically reduced oyster
production in Delaware Bay and lower Chesapeake Bay. Oyster farming
practices have been  changed in those areas to avoid  the parasite.
Hurricanes in 1950 all but destroyed the New York oyster resource,
and in 1966, the production in the Gulf of Mexico was reduced by half
because of another vicious hurricane.

Because the  oyster was among the first foods used in America, it was
also first to be regulated. Town, county, and  state laws regulate the
harvest and  the  kind of gear an oysterman  may use.   It has been estimated
that of the  1,4000,000 acres of bottom which can grow oysters in the
U. S. coastal water, 185,000 acres are privately controlled.  These
leased beds  produce  50 per cent of the oyster crop.

The regulations  regarding the  production of oysters, particularly the
method of harvest, vary somewhat from  state to  state.  There is great
need to make these regulations more uniform among the various oyster-
producing states. One approach to this problem is within the framework
of the Atlantic  States Marine  Fisheries Commission.  It was organized,
in part, to  permit the various states  to correlate their regulations
in the light of  current knowledge about the individual species of marine
animals.  There  is great need  of such  correlation in order to realize
the full potential of  oyster farming.

In addition  to the regulations by states and their subdivisions in terms
of pTOtaction, the sanitary aspects of oysters  as a  safe food produce
anotiier set  of regulations, usually under  the jurisdiction of the state
feealtiti agencies. Marine waters producing  oysters must be of the same

high quality as fresh drinking water, and in all lower quality waters
the taking of shellfish is prohibited.  The states survey a  total of
4,879,300 acres for water quality; 3,575,200 are approved, but 1,234,900
are closed, usually because they are polluted.  These closed areas
represent expense for policing and an economic waste of the  resource.

In Louisiana, the Louisiana State Board of Health, Division  of Public
Health  Engineering carries out oyster water surveys and is responsible
for evaluating the sanitary quality of the growing areas involved.
Samples are analyzed for chemical, biological and radiological analyses
on a regular basis.  This is done as a part of the U. S. Public Health
Services program for the sanitation of the harvesting and processing of

The oyster's soft body lies in the deeper of the two shells  that are
hinged  at one end.  The outside of the shells is rough but the inside is
smooth.  The body, containing organs of digestion and reproduction, a
nervous system, and a circulatory system is enfolded by a mantle that
grows and repairs the shell.  A thick adductor muscle attached to each
shell controls the opening and closing of the shells.  Oysters get
their oxygen with gills as the sea waters are pumped through them.  The
gills also filter out the food items which then move into the digestive
tract.   The pumping of sea water and the filtering of food depends on
the water temperature and on materials in the water.  A toxic substance
will cause the oyster to close the shells.  Feeding ceases also when the
water becomes too cold (about 40°F).  The oyster can pump an average of
3 gallons of water per hour when the temperature is in the 80s (°F).
For short periods of time, oysters have been observed to pump at a rate
of 10 gallons per hour.

An oyster's growth and maturity depend on temperature, availability of
food, and season of the year.  In general, the southern oyster grows to
market  size in two years, while its more northern relative requires 4

The vast majority of young oysters function as males when they first
spawn.   By the time they spawn the second time, the ratio of the sexes
is approximately equal.

When the gonads of the oysters are mature and the water is at the
"spawning temperature", an entire oyster bed will spawn, casting billions
of eggs and spermatozoa into the water.  Embryonic and free-swimming
larvae stages develop rapidly.  Usually within two weeks the final
free-swimming larvae stages glide over hard surfaces (cultch) on a
ciliated foot in search of a suitable spot on which to cement itself.
A newly  "set" oyster is called a "spat".  It quickly metamorphases,
losing its "eyes" (two internal pigment spots), foot, and swimming
appendage.  When many larvae set, hundreds may attach in a relatively
small area.   Within a few weeks of growing, the young oysters on a
heavily-set area crowd against one another.  Some may be pried off the
cultch and survive as single oyster; many more are overgrown by the


^L^Pidly  8r°?tng nei8hbor* or *>? those more advantageously placed.
Depending upon the  length of the growing season, oysters  are  sexually
mature within one or two years after setting.

The east side of the river lies in the heart of the Louisiana oyster
growing region and  encompasses nearly all of the oyster seed  grounds,
some 450,000  acres, and about 30% or 40,000 - 50,000 acres  of private

The upper Louisiana marshes, east of the river are a rich natural seed
oyster area.   In 1966 and 1967, extensive plantings of clam shells were
made for oyster cultch in the Black Bay area which resulted in increased
catch of oyster spat.  These spat then were able to provide seed oysters
to fishermen  who lease state marshlands for oyster production.  This
seeding is  an on-going program sponsored and supported jointly by
Louisiana and the Federal Government through Public Law 88-309, the
Commercial  Fisheries Research and Development Act.  This  area lies
northwest of  the Chevron well MPC41.

The oyster  farming  procedure involves, generally the removal  of seed
oysters from  the state-managed seed grounds east of the Mississippi
River  to private leases on both sides of the river where  the  seed oysters
are  tended,  cultivated and fattened before marketing. This  operation
is generally  on an annual basis with the season starting  September 1
and harvest usually being completed by the following May.

Tonging is  one of the principal methods of harvesting oysters.  Since
the earliest  days,  tonging has been done from relatively  small skiffs
and occasionally from larger vessels powered by oars, poles,  and sails
until  the early 1930s.

Tonging, usually involving a crew of one or two, is performed from flat
bottom skiffs, which are 16 to 18 feet long, 5 to 7 feet  wide, and
powered by  an outboard motor.  A pair of tongs is an elongated basket-
like apparatus with 8 to 12 foot handles, depending on depth  fished.
Oystermen position their skiffs over the reef and extend  the  tongs down
to the oysters, simultaneously moving the handles in a scissorlike
motion to work oysters into the gongs in a groping manner.  When the tongs
are full, they are hauled on deck, the contents are deposited on a
culling board and sorted.  Shells and small oysters are returned to the
water.  This  process is repeated until the day's catch is made.

Dredging is the other principal method of harvesting oysters. Prior to
1900, dredging was  done from sailing vessels in much the  same way as it
is today with the exception that loaded dredges were retrieved by a hand-
operated winch.  The early 1900s saw installation of small  gasoline
engines on  some vessels to power dredge winches.  On dredging vessels,
the winch that operates dredges now receives its power from the main

A multiple-purpose  vessel powered by a diesel engine, known as the


 Biloxi lugger, is now used in dredging operations.   This vessel ranges
 from 30 feet length overall with a 9-foot beam and  a 2-1/2-foot draft
 to 60 feet overall with a 17-foot beam and a 5-foot draft.   Most are
 about 52 feet long with a 15 to 16 foot beam and a  draft of about 4-1/2
 feet.  The vessel has a crew of 3 to 5 men.

 A dredge is made of metal and has two triangular-shaped sides welded
 or riveted together with braces and rods.  A net with metal link webbing
 in the bottom half and heavy twine in the top is attached to the frame.
 A toothed metal bar extends across the lower hind portion of the frame
 immediately forward of the net.  Two dredges are usually operated from
 a vessel; one from each side, one slightly in front of the  other.  A
 dredge is towed over the reef until full and retrieved by a power winch.
 The contents are emptied on a culling board, sorted and stowed.  This
 process is repeated until the day's catch is made.

 C.3.3.  Gulf shrimp, brown Penaeus aztecus;  white Penaeus setiferus;
 and pink Penaeus duorarum

  The Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery is the most valuable U.  S.  fishery«
 Its average annual U.  S.  landings were 107 million  pounds of shrimp
 (tail weight) valued at $55 million to the fishermen,  in the five
 years, 1959 - 1963.   Three kinds of shrimp - brown, white,  and pink -
 accounted for 98 per cent of the total landings (7).

 Data on the Sulf of Mexico shrimp distribution are  compiled by the
 Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Exploratory Fishing  Base, Pascagoula,
 Mississippi.   For statistical reporting purposes, the Gulf  of Mexico
 is divided into 40 statistical areas.   Eacfe  statistical area is further
 divided into depth zones  of 5 fathoms each C@-5> 6—10,  11-15,  etc.).
 Shrimp catch statistics are reported in Gulf Coast  Shrimp Data, by
 statistical area and depth zone.   The zone comprising  the Breton Sound
 area is statistics area number 12.

 Although nine species  of  shrimp of the family Penaeidae contribute to
 the  extensive Gulf of  Mexico shrimp fishery,  only brown shrimp, Penaeus
 aztecus;  white shrimp,  P.  setiferus;  and pink shrimp,  !P.  duorarum,  are
 caught  in significant  numbers.   These species all have  a similar life
 cycle  in which spawning occurs offshore.

Eggs are  laid directly into the water and are apparently fertilized by
spermtozoa, contained  in a capsule  (spermatophore)  that the male attaches
to the  female.  A  female  lays  500,000 to 1 million  eggs at  a spawning -
some females  probably  spawn more  than once a season.  Most,  if not all,
spawning  takes  place at sea, mainly from late March or  early April to
the end of  September.

The eggs  are  about 1/75 inch  in diameter and demersal.   Eggs hatch in
about 20  to 24  hours,  and  the  nauplius,  which resembles a tiny mite,
emerges and becomes planktonic drifting  about and feeding chiefly upon
microscopic phytoplankton  (diatoms,  etc.).   Within  two  weeks after


*wi™         y°UnS  Shrimp  bec°mes a Postl«va which  is  an active
swimmer and manages  to  reach the shallow estuarine nursery areas.
h^o3te* reaCfnS  the nursery «eas,  the postlarva  descends to the
bottom.  Formerly  a  plankton feeder,  it now becomes a bottom feeder,
consuming algae  bottom invertebrates,  arid plant  and  animal debris.
This omnivorous  feeding continues through the  adult stage.  (The larger
shrxmp feeds on  the  same type of food as the bottom-dwelling postlarva
and early juvenile,  except that larger  organisms  such as worms and
mollusks are also  eaten) .

The bottom-dwelling  postlarva soon becomes a juvenile.  Growth is very
rapid, particularly  when water temperatures exceed 70°F.  As the shrimp
grows, it moves  gradually seaward, presumably  in  response to salinity
or habitat preferences.  By the time  the shrimp is an adult, it is
moving out of  the  estuarine areas into  the ocean.  Most brown shrimp,
which enter coastal  waters as postlarvae in winter and early spring,
move offshore  during late summer and  fall; but by late fall practically
none remain inshore.  Large white shrimp, and  to  a certain extent pink
shrimp, enter  inshore waters as postlarvae in  late spring and summer and
move offshore  in late fall and winter.   Many juveniles and subadults of
these species  remain inshore throughout the winter, and spawn the following
spring.  Temperature and salinity appear to be major  influences in the
inshore, offshore, and coastwise movement of all  these species.

The post larval catch per 120 minutes  of fishing effort in the Barataria
Bay area, which  lies due west of Venice, Louisiana, has been recorded
for the years  1962-1965.  These data  represent total  catch and were not
separated by species; however, that portion of the graph from January
through May may  be considered principally P_. aztecus  since P_. setiferus
is not present in  numbers until June.  As seen in Figure 26, the post-
larval population  peaks occurred in April in 1962 and 1963, in February in 1964
and in March of  1965.  These peak catches apparently  represent the major
influx of postlarvae into the bay system and should give an indication
of the forthcoming shrimp crop.

It should be noted,  however, that the total catch as  well as the time
of the peak occurrence varied considerably for the four-year period.
Obviously, the 1962  and 1963 catches  were smaller than in 1964 and 1965.
However, the greater catches in 1964  and 1965  may, in part, be a result
of changes in  sampling effort and technique which included an increase in
effort after 1962  and a revision of the sampling  time to fish the in-
coming tide after  1963.  Though these two changes in  sampling technique
may have caused  some increase in catch  efficiency, nevertheless, it
appears that the higher catches in 1964 and 1965  represent a significant
increase of postlarvae on the nursery groups during these two years and
should have resulted in a measurable  increase  in  production.  This,
however, was not necessarily the case.   An analysis of the data for 1962
and 1963 suggested an almost direct relationship  between the postlarval
catches and landings (Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, 1964).

§ 2100-

O 1500-

CD 1000-
  600 -
  300 -
  100 —
                              ' A 'in ' J ' J ' A ' S 10 ' N '0 J
    1964                 1965

When the data  for  1964 and 1965 were considered,  the  same  relationship
did not exist.   In this latter case, apparently heavy movements of
postlarvae  into  the nursery area did not result in  as high a production
as might have  been expected had the correlation occurred in 1964 and
1965 as existed  in 1962 and 1963.  This suggests  that the  directness of
relationship between postlarval catches and landings  is governed by
other  factors  which probably increase or decrease the mortality rate
of postlarvae  after they arrive on the nursery grounds.  While it may
take an analysis of many shrimp cycles in relation  to environmental
parameters  to  establish the exact causes of postlarval mortalities, it
seems  evident  from these data that conditions in  1962 and  1963 were far
more favorable to  postlarval survival than in 1964  and 1965.

Many species of  fish and other animals prey upon  shrimp during the
various stages of  their life cycle.  Eggs and early larvae are consumed
by predators such  as arroworms and larval fishers;  postlarvae and early
juveniles  are  preyed upon by postlarval and juvenile  fishes such as
croaker, spot  and  flounder.  Larger shrimp are eaten  by many enemies,
chief  among which  are the seatrouts, silver perch,  and other sciaenid

The large  and  highly mobile shrimp fleet comprises  trawlers of distinc-
tive design and  similar construction that are capable of  locating and
fishing concentrations of shrimp throughout the Gulf  of Mexico.  The
average offshore trawler has a length of about 60 feet, a  capacity of
50 gross tons, and a main engine of about 160 horsepower.   The offshore
fleet  totals about 2,000 vessels.  Some of the smaller vessels are
rigged to  tow  a  single trawl from the stern; however, most offshore
trawlers are equipped to tow two smaller trawls,  one from  each side.
The latter are termed "double-rig" trawlers.  Gulf  of Mexico shrimp
trawls are quite uniform in shape and dimension and have  three basic
designs:   the  flat trawl, the semi-balloon trawl, and the  balloon trawl.
The size of the  trawl (measured as the width along  the  foot rope) varies
with the size  and  power of the individual vessel, but most single-rig
vessels use 90 to  100 foot balloon or semi-balloon  trawls, whereas most
double-rig vessels use 40 to 45 foot flat trawls.  In addition, almost
every  shrimp trailer is equipped with a 10-foot "try" net  that is towed
from the stern.

Catches are sorted and iced down aboard the vessel  and landed as 100-
pound  "boxes"  of shrimp.  If the individual shrimp  are large and catches
are moderate,  the  shrimp are headed before icing  and  delivery to the
shore  plant.   During, periods of extremely high catches, however, the
shrimp taken on  grounds near the port of landing  may  remain unheaded
until  final processing ashore.  Brown shrimp are  widely distributed
over the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.  The brown shrimp
fishery is  centered in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico; the largest
commercial  catches are made on the sand and mud bottoms off the coast of
Texas.  Brown  shrimp are caught, at least in small  quantities, along
the coast of the Sulf of Mexico - from northern Florida to the Yucatan
Peninsula of Mexico.  Brown shrimp are caught at  night when they come

 out  of  their burrows.  During daylight they are burrowed in the bottom
 and  are not caught by fishing gear.  Vessels fishing for brown shrimp  are
 generally  the  large,high-powered, well-equipped, and double-rigged
 vessels.   They move considerable distances along the coast to harvest  the
 shrimp  where they are seasonally abundant.

 Of the  three major species, brown shrimp ranked number one in pounds
 landed  during  1959-1963  (8).  This large fishery is relatively new, for
 it did  not begin to develop until the end of World War  II.  White shrimp
 had  dominated  the landings, and brown shrimp, although present in great
 abundance, were difficult to market because of their darker color.  With
 the  decline of white shrimp landings in the late 1940s, the Government
 and  industry increased their efforts to promote the marketing of brown
 shrimp  and the fishery developed rapidly.  The first commercially
 important  catches of brown shrimp were made off the Texas coast in 1947.

 White shrimp have about  the same geographical range in the Gulf of Mexico
 as the  brown shrimp.  The Gulf fishery, however, is centered on the mud
 and  sand bottoms off the coast of Louisiana in the north-central Gulf of

 Unlike  brown and pink shrimp, white shrimp apparently do not burrow into
 the  bottom during the day, for the largest catches of white shrimp are
 made in daylight.  White shrimp may be taken occasionally at night along
 with brown shrimp, especially during the spring and fall.  Generally,
 the  vessels fishing for white shrimp are single-rigged and are smaller,
 lower-powered, and more poorly equipped than the vessels that fish mainly
 for  brown  or pink shrimp.  They are less seaworthy than the larger vessels
 and  move only  short distances along the coast where they support mostly
 local fisheries.  Many have shallow drafts that enable them to fish in
 both the inshore and offshore areas.

 White shrimp ranked second in pounds landed among the three major species
 during  1959-1963.  For many years this species supported the entire Gulf
 of Mexico  shrimp fishery.  Prior to the mid-1930s it was entirely an
 inshore fishery, but as markets developed, the fishery moved offshore
 and  developed  rapidly to its peak during the mid-1940s, after which time
 it began a gradual decline in relative importance.

 Pink shrimp have an almost continuous distribution throughout the Gulf
 of Mexico, although consistent commercial catches are made only on the
 shell, coral sand, and coral silt bottoms of the Gulf of Mexico.  Two
 rather restricted areas, one off southern Florida and the other off the
Yucatan Peninsula, produce over 90 per cent of the pink shrimp landings.
The  catches of pink shrimp from the northern Gulf of Mexico are made at
 times, usually on a seasonal basis.

Like brown shrimp, pink shrimp come out of their burrows at night, when
 they are taken in trawls.  Most of the vessels used in the pink shrimp
 fishery are similar to the large, high-powered, well-equipped, and
double-rigged vessels of the brown shrimp fishery; however, the same

vessels also travel to the distant grounds off the Yucatan Peninsula.
Also, many of  the same vessels fish seasonally in the brown shrimp
fishery.  Pink shrimp ranked third in importance among the three major
species during 1959-1963,   The fishery for this species is the most
recent of the  three:  It began off both southern Florida and the Yucatan
Peninsula about 1950.

C.3.4.  Gulf Blue Crab Callinectes sapidus

The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. class Crustacea, is a
common inhabitant of muddy and sandy shores of the Gulf Coast of North

It is caught by many and diverse forms of fishing gear in salty, deep
channels of the Bay and in brackish waters of its river tributaries,
often quite far up the rivers in water of extremely low salinity.  The
female mates usually while it is in the soft crab state, but not until
after it has shed for the last time.

Having found a mate, the male cradle-carries the female beneath him
by hooking his first walking legs and pinching claws between the first
walking  legs and pinching claws of the female.  She is carried two or
more days until she sheds her immature shell.  While she is shedding,
the male hovers over her.   After the soft female emerges from the shed
she turns over on her back and unfolds the abdomen to expose the two
genital  pores.  Mating may occur day or night and may last from five
to twelve hours.  Sperm are transported in microscopic, oval-shaped
bundles  called spermatophores to a pair of sacs in the female called
seminal  receptacles or spermathecae.  Sperm will live in the female
receptacles  for at least a year, to be used as often as the female lays
eggs.  After mating, the adult female is again carried, cradle fashion,
beneath  the male, for another two days or more.

Since the female mates only once, in the soft-shell state or shortly
thereafter,  the cradle-carry is undoubtedly important to ensure that
a male is present at the critical moment of shedding, and to protect
the soft female until her shell is hard.  Two to nine months may elapse
between mating and egg laying by the female.  If mating occurs as early
as May,  the first egg mass may be laid in August.  Although most females
mature and mate in August and September, and eggs in the ovaries of each
female develop almost to completion within the next two months, egg-
laying is delayed until the following May or June.  Egg laying is rapid
and may be complete in two hours, eggs passing from the ovaries to the
outside by way of the seminal receptacles where fertilization occurs.
Outside  the body, the fertilized eggs are attached by adhesives to hairs
of four pairs  of appendages (swJmmerets) on the abdomen.

A few sponge or egg-bearing crabs may be seen before the end of April,
but normally the first peak of sponge production occurs during the last
week of May and the first  two weeks of June.

 The number of eggs in a sponge ranges from 700,000 to over 2,000,000.
 Many of the eggs do not hatch, and still fewer larvae and very  small
 crabs  live to become adults.  On the average only one ten-thousandth
 of one per cent  (0.000001) of the eggs survive to become mature crabs.

 After  hatching the young crab passes through two larval stages,  zoea and
 megalops, before it takes the form of a crab.  The zoea looks like  a
 shrimp and bears a heavily-spiked hood, while the megalops looks like a
 miniature toad that still retains its tadpole tail.  The zoeal  form lasts
 about  a month, during which it molts at least four times, growing from
 1/100  to about 1/25 of an inch in width.

 Following the fourth (or fifth) molt is the megalops stage.  Many of the
 larvae that hatch in early Juae reach this stage by mid-July or the first
 of August.  The megalops stage lasts only a few days.  When it  molts the
 "first crab" appears, with the typical body shape of an adult crab.

 Growth is rapid and adult size may be reached one year to a year and a
 half after hatching.  Those hatched early, in late May, become  two  and
 one-half inches wide by November and five-inch adults or larger by
 August the following year.  Those that hatch in late August or  September
 may reach only one-half inch in width the first fall.  By November  the
 next year, these will have become only three or four inches wide and
 will not become adult until May of the third summer.  After reaching
 adult  size, crabs are known to live at least one more year, and a few
 may reach the maximum age of three to three and one-half years.   The
 average life-span, however, probably is less than one year.

 The diet of blue crabs includes fresh and decaying fish or meat, as
 well as vegetation.  Roots, shoots, and leaves of common seaweeds are
 regularly eaten, especially parts of eelgrass (Zostera), ditch  grass
 (Ruppia). sea luttuce (Ulva), and salt-marsh grass (Spartina).  Destruc-
 tion of young quahogs (Venus) and seed oysters (Crassostrea) in
 experimental ponds and tanks has been frequently reported.  On  clam and
 oyster grounds in open waters, however, the blue crab cannot be con-
 sidered a serious pest, although transplants of young sets may  be
 destroyed when other food is less available.

 Fishing methods for blue crab include the use of baited traps and also
 use of crab dredges.

 C.4.   Commercially Important Mammals

 There  is a substantial fur and pet food meat industry in Louisiana
 centered about the trapping and skinning of muskrat, nutria, raccoon,
mink,  opossum, skunk, otter, lynx, fox and beaver.  Records are compiled
by the Fur Division of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
Of these animals, the most important dollar value for pelts in  1968-
 1969 season (Table  4 ) was represented by four species, the muskrat,
nutria, raccoon and mink, with the industry as a whole valued at more
than $7,000,000.00 for that year (1).


Nutria (Eastern La.)
Nutria (Western La.)

Nutria Meat

$ 1.10



 C.5  Mariculture Operations  in Louisiana

 Fish culture has the same purpose  as  agriculture:   i.e.,  to increase,
 by management,  production above that  which could be obtained naturally.
 The term aquaculture jrefers  to culture  of  freshwater plants and animals
 for domestic purposes,  usually food.  Mariculture makes use of brackish
 or saline waters to  culture  seafoods  such  as  shrimp and oysters.

 Many companies, various of which have large holdings of land and wish
 to diversify their enterprises, are taking a  look at fish farming.   The
 lowering of the oil  depletion  allowances had  prompted certain organiza-
 tions to investigate multiple  land use.  Companies  moving into aqua-
 culture include United  Fruit Company, Ralston-Purina Company, W. R.  Grace
 Company (Prewitt, 1970).   Inmost Company and  United Pennzoil Corporation
 are actively involved in fish  farming in Louisiana  (9).

 C.5.1.  Culture of pompano Trachinotus  carolinus

 At Louisiana State University,  The Sea Grant  Program in cooperation  with
 the Agricultural Experiment  Station,  is  supporting  research on the
 ecology and environmental requirements of  the pompano, Trachinotus
 carolinus (10).  This fish is  being widely advocated as a potential
 species for mariculture.   Interest to date has centered in Florida,
 where both private concerns  and governmental  agencies are attempting
 pompano culture.

 The pompano is  also  found along the coast  of  Louisiana, where it is  one
 of the most highly prized game  and food  fishes.  It is a  gourmet item
 in restaurants  of New Orleans;  however,  the supply  is well below the

 In their natural environment pompano  usually  are found in waters of
 moderate to high salinity.   However,  a laborabory study indicated that
 pompano  could be maintained  at  salinities  as  low as 1.27  ppt.   If this
 fish can be effectively cultured in waters of low salinities,  millions
 of acres of potentially suitable marshes and  estuaries in Louisiana  and
 elsewhere will  find  a new use.

 Salinity level  probably would probably not limit juvenile pompano in
 most  of  the Louisiana marsh.  Nitrogenous  wastes,   however,  could be
 a  problem in pompany culture unless provisions are  made to remove such
material.   Certainly more information is needed  about the environmental
 requirements of pompano before  they can  be cultured successfully in
 Louisiana.   Among  the factors that must  receive  attention are oxygen,
 carbon dioxide,  pH,  nitrogenous  wastes,  density  of  fish,  temperature,
nutrition,  pollution and  long-term effects of salinity.

C.5.2.   Culture  of Brown  and White Shrimp,  Penaus aztecus and Penaeus

Pond culture experiments  carried out  by  the Louisiana Wildlife and

Fisheries Commission  were started in the spring of 1962  at Grand  Terre
Island, Louisiana.  Brown shrimp, Penaeus aztecus_, and white  shrimp
        setiferus, were cultured in 0.25 acre ponds (11,  12).  Juvenile
       .                                                 ,     .
and postlarval  shrimp,  obtained from several sources,  were  stocked at
different rates and several types of feeds were used.   Production ranged
from 40 to  809  pounds per acre and feed conversion ratios from  1.7 to
9.7.  Salinities fluctuated between 16 and 35 ppt. while temperatures
varied between  8 and 37 C during the study periods.

Louisiana's Marine Laboratory now has adequate research facilities for
pond culture  of marine  and brackish water animals.  In 1968, 16 experi-
ments concerning shrimp feeds, feeding rates and stocking rates were
successfully  completed  in the 0.25 acre ponds.  Future research will
expand these  experiments and will also include spawning and maximum
population  density studies.

High mortalities occurred in 1967 due to an oxygen deficiency.  Because
fish kills  were happening throughout the area at the same time  and
because the unfed control pond experienced the highest mortality, this
kill could  not  be directly attributed to overfeeding.

Research on culture of  aquatic and marine animals for  food  is also being
conducted by  the LSU Agricultural Experiment Station in cooperation with
the Sea Grant Program.   Curently, special attention is being given to
nutritional requirements of invertebrates including postlarval  pink
shrimp  (Penaeus durarum) (13).

C.5.3  Culture  of the Louisiana Red Crawfish Procambarus clarki

Crawfish farming in Louisiana is a growing viable industry, contributing
at an increasing rate to the overall economy of the state (13) .  In
1968, reported  landings of crawfish in Louisiana were  approximately
six million pounds, with a value of over $1,000,000 -  at best a conser-
vative estimate, in view of the unreported "catch" of  wild  stock from
flooded marsh areas and rice fields.  Whereas, the bulk of  the  crop
originally  was  obtained from these natural sources, artificial
impoundments  begun 20 years ago, are significantly increasing crawfish
production  yearly.  Since 1965, acreage devoted to crawfish, mainly in
the southwest portion of the state, has doubled from 6,000  to approxi-
mately 12,000 acres in  1969.  This crop, comprising an annual harvest
of from 6 to  10 million pounds, is harvested from natural waters, rice
fields, and impoundments designed solely for crawfish  farming is
increasing  by hundreds  of acres yearly, involving establishment of ponds
of 20-40 acre size to those as large as 400-700 acres.  Recent  studies
on salinity tolerances  of the red swamp crawfish indicate the feasibility
of utilizing  additional acres of the less saline coastal areas  of
Louisiana.  There appears to be approximately one and  three-quarter
million acres of fresh  water marsh and about two and one-half million
acres of salt water marsh in Louisiana which is suitable for crawfish.

 C.6  Ecological Changes.  Oyster Grass,  Spartina alterniflora - "Die-back"
 in Louisiana Marshlands

 "Die-back" is a term applied to degeneration and death of large areas of
 Spartina townsendii marshes in England.  What appears to be the same
 condition affects ju alterniflora marshes in Louisiana and possibly
 elsewhere in North America. (14)   Several factors are likely to be involved
 and it is especially important that the effects of pollution and altera-
 tion of tidal regime through dredging be investigated.

 Spartina alterniflora marshlands in Louisiana frequently have large areas
 of standing dead stubble.   These killed areas were first noted in the
 Grand Isle area on November 10, 1968.   As of December 31, 1969, no re-
 covery was evident, but a continuing watch is being kept on certain
 areas to ascertain if new growth will appear.  The standing stubble is
 conspicuous evidence that the areas were recently suitable for Spartina.

 It is estimated that as much as 50 per  cent of some areas are affected.
 The importance in estimation of net production of S_,  alterniflora is
 obvious.  Since this grass has often been cited as one of the more
 important primary producers in the estuarine ecosystem,  this condition
 should affect the overall productivity  in estuaries.

 Investigators into the nature of  Spartina die-back in Britain have
 generally come to view the condition as due probably  to a change in
 ecological conditions unfavorable to the growth of Spartina, rather
 than to disease or parasites.   In Louisiana,  one possible cause of
 Spartina die-back may be  oil pollution.  (14)

 There is without doubt much more  oil moving about in  the marshlands lately,
 from oil spills,  bleedwater discharge,  and even from  bilgewater and
 discharge from two-cycle  outboard engines.   Coatings  of  oil on the
 foliage of Spartina might,  even in small quantities,  lethally affect
 the  oxygen transport,  gas  exchange,  and transpirational mechanisms
 essential for life.

 It is  possible that  a multiplicity of factors may kill areas of £.
 alterniflora  marshlands, and possibly these may act together in most
 instances.  Better understanding  of the range of conditions in which
 Spartina can  grow is essential in any program of estuarine management.
 It is  particularly important to sort out the  injurious effects of pollu-
 tion and  artificial  alteration of  hydrography.

 C.7  Biology  of Coastal Study  Area II

 Located within the confines  of Area II  are oyster seed grounds.   These
 are areas designated for the planting of oyster cultch in three materials
 for the collection of  spat  (oyster larvae).   The resulting cultches are
 transplanted by the  oyster  fishermen on their own beds.

The dominant plant species  in  this  area are:  oyster  grass,  wiregrass

and black rush.  Widgeon  grass, an attractive waterfowl food plant,
occurs in small quantities  in  some of  the enclosed ponds and pipeline
canals on the west side of  the river.

The following table  (5) lists  species  of invertebrate and vertebrate
animals collected in Coastal Study Area II in a recent survey. (15)

                             AREA  II 1966-1967


Man of War - Physalia pelagica
4-Eye Jellyfish - Stomolophus  meleagris


 American Oyster - Grassestrea virginica
 Venus Clam - Venus mercenaria
 Oyster Drill - Thais haemastoma
 Squid - Loligunculas brevis
 Neris  sp.
  Isopod - Livoneca ovalis
  White Shrimp - Penaeus setiferus
  Brown Shrimp - Penaeus aztecus
  Net Clinger - Acetes americanus
  Pistol Shrimp - Alpheus heterochaelis
  Grass Shrimp - Palemonetes vulgaris

King shrimp - Squilla empusfl
Hermit crab - Pagurus longicarous
Blue crab - Callinectes sapidus
Stone crab - Menippe mercenaria


Sand dollar - Mellita quinquiesperforata


Smalltooth sawfish - Pristis pectinatus
Atlantic stingray - Dasyatis sabina


Ladyfish - Elops saurus
Skipjack herring - Alpsa chrysochloris
Largescale menhaden - Brevoortia patronus
Gizzard shad - Dorosoma cepedianum
Threadfin shad - Dorosoma petenense
Striped anchovy - Anchoa helsetus
Bay anchovy - Anchoa mitchilli
Inshore lizardfish - Synodus foetens
Gafftopsail catfish - Bagre marinus
Sea catfish - Galeichtys felis
Sheepshead minnow - Cyprinodon variegatus
Gulf killifish - Fundulus grandjs
Longnose killifish - Fundulus similis
Sailfin molly - Millienesia latipinna
Southern hake - Urophycis floridanus
Gulf pipefish - Synganathus s cove Hi
Northern seahorse - Hippocampus hudsonius
Bluefish - Pomatomus altatrix

Crevalle jack - Caranx hippos
Bumper - Chloroscombrus^ chrysurus
Leather jacket - Oligoplites saurus
Lookdown - Selene yomer
Pompano - Trachinotus carolinus
Atlantic moonfish - .Vpmer setapinnis
Pigfish - Orthopristis chrysopterus
Freshwater drum - Aplodinotus  grunniens
Silver perch - Bairdiella chry^sura
Sand  Seatrout - Cynoscion arenarius
Spotted seatrout - Cynoscion nebulosus
Silver seatrout - Cynoscion nothus
Banded drum - Larimus faciatus
Spot  - Leiostomus xanthrus
Southern kingfish - Menticirrhus americana
Gulf  kingfish - Menticirrhua littoralis
Atlantic croaker - Hjcroppgon  undulatus
Black drum - Pogonias cromis
Red drum - Sciaenops ocellata
Star  drum - Stellifer lanceolatus
Sheepshead - Archosargus probatocephalus
Pinfish  - Lagondon  rhomboides
Atlantic spadefish  - Chaeteodipterus  faber
Atlantic cutlassfish -  Trichiurus  lepturus
Spanish mackerel  -  Scomberomorus maculatus
Bighead  searobin  -  Prionotus tribulus
Great barracuda -  Sphyracena barracuda
Guaguanche -  Sphyraena  guachancho
Striped mullet  - Mufti1  cephalus
Tidewater  silverside  -  Menidia beryllina
Atlantic threadfin  - Polvdactylus  octonemus
Southern flounder  - Paralichthys lethostigma
Lined sole - Archirus  lineatus
Hogchoker  - Trinect.es maculatus
Blackcheek tonguefish - Symphurus  plagiusa

Gulf toadfish - Opsanus beta
Atlantic midshipman - Porichthys porosissinus

                        APPENDIX  C  REFERENCES

1.  Van Lopik, Jr. R.,  1970.   "Louisiana and the Sea Grant Program",
Coastal Studies Bulletin No.  5, Louisiana State University p. v-xvii

2.  O'Neil, T., 1968.   "The  fur industry in retrospect", Louisiana
Conservationist,  Sept.  Oct.  pp. 9-14.

3.  Delta National Wildlife  Refuge, 1968.  USDI Fish and Wildlife
Service, Bureau of Sport Fisheries  and  Wildlife, Refuge Leaflet, 554.
U. S. Govt. Printing Office,  Washington, D. C.

4.  "Fishes of the Delta National Wildlife Refuge", 1966, USDI Fish and
Wildlife Service, Bureau of  Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Refuge Leaflet
409.  U. S. Govt. Printing Office,  Washington, D. C.

5.  Atlantic menhaden,  1965.   "Marine resources of the Atlantic Coast",
leaflet No. 2".   Atlantic  States  Fisheries Comm., Tallahassee, Florida.

6.  The oyster, 1968.   "Marine resources of the Atlantic Coast, leaflet
No. 11".  Atlantic States  Fisheries Comm., Tallahassee, Florida.

7.  Southern shrimp, 1965.  "Marine resources of the Atlantic Coast,
leaflet No. 4".   Atlantic  States  Fisheries Comm., Tallahassee, Florida.

8.  Gulf of Mexico Shrimp  Atlas,  1969.   USDI, Bureau of Commercial
Fisheries, Circular  312.   U.  S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

9.  Avault, J. W., and  K.  0.  Allen, 1970.  "Mariculture in the United
States - an overview",  Coastal Studies  Bulletin No. 5., Louisiana State
University pp. 141-146.

10.  Allen, K. 0., and  J.  W.  Avault, 1970. "Effects of salinity and
water quality on  survival  and growth of juvenile pompano, Trachinotus
carolinus", Coastal  studies  Bulletin No. 5, Louisiana State University
pp. 147-156.

11.  Broom, J. G., 1968.   "Pond culture of shrimp on Grand Terre Island,
Louisiana 1962-1968", Proc.  Gulf  Carib. Fish. Inst. Nov. pp 137-151.

12.  St. Amant, L. S.,  et.  al., "Studies of the brown shrimp, Penaeus
aztecus in Barataria Bay,  Louisiana, 1962, 1965", Proc. Gulf Carib. Fish,
Inst. Nov., pp. 1-16.

13.  Meyers, S. P.,  et  al.,  1970.  "Development of rations for economically
important aquatic and marine invertebrates," Coastal Studies Bulletin No.
5, Louisiana State University pp. 157-172.

14   Smith  W. G. 1970. "Spartina  "die-back" in Louisiana marshlands",
Coastal Studies Bulletin No.  5, Louisiana State University pp. 89-96

15.  Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission 12th Biennial Report,
1966-1967, LWLFC, New Orleans, La., pp. 232


In September, 1945, the President issued Proclamation No. 2667 stating
the Federal Government's jurisdiction and control of the natural resources
of the subsoil and seabed  of  the Continental Shelf.  Executive Order No.
9633, issued simultaneously,  placed the natural resources of the Conti-
nental Shelf under the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary of
the Interior.

The 83rd  Congress passed H.R. 4198  (identified as the Submerged Lands
Act), signed  into law as Public Law 31 by the: President  on May 22, 1953.
The purpose of  the Act is  described in its  title as  follows:

To confirm and  establish  the  titles of the  States to lands beneath
navigable waters within State boundaries and to the  natural resources
within such  lands  and water,  to provide  for the use  and  control of said
lands and resources,  and to confirm the  jurisdiction and control of the
Ifaited States over the natural resources of the seabed of CBs; Continen-
tal  Shelf seaward of State boundaries.

The Act  moved the boundary between Federal  and  State jurisdiction from
t&e ordinary low-water mark and the seaward limits of  inland  waters to
the  seaward boundaries of the States.  The  seaward boundary of the
States was established at a distance of  3 geographic miles  from the
 coast line except offshore Florida and Texas, where  the  limit was set
 at 3 leagues (9 geographical miles or approximately  10.3 statute miles;
 from the coast line.  These were the boundaries of  the States at the
 time the State entered the Union or as approved by Congress prior to
 the passage of the Act.

 An action was started December 19, 1955, by the United States against
 tL State of Louisiana to establish its right to the minerals under-
 lying the eu^f Mexico beyond 3  geographical miles from the Coast  line
 of Louisiana and extending to the  edge of the ^"^f^^ J*£
  zone  3 was the ar e*  ™   *f sana £ed by Act 33 of the Louisa
  SfSure^cfuS thr-'Coast Guard Line")  a**, zone 4 .as the  are.
  extending seaward of zone 3.

                                -CALCAMItl IMI
                                                                                                                 zow t

                                                                                                                 ZONE S

                                                                                                                 IOO FATHOM COMTOWt

On May 31, I960, the  Supreme  Court delivered the opinion that  Louisiana
is entitled to rights extending no more than 3 geographic miles  from its
coast line.  The Court denied a request for rehearing on October 10,
1960, and on December 12,  1960, entered its final decree for all five
Gulf States.

A supplemental decree rendered by the Court, December 13, 1965,  awarded
certain disputed areas shown in Fig, D.I. to Louisiana by moving parts
of the Chapman line seaward.   The decree also moved the seaward  limit
of zone 3 from 3 leagues to 3 geographical miles from Louisiana's
claimed coast line.  The acreages in zones 1, 2, 3 and 4 as of October
12, 1956, and December, 1965, are as follows:

                          Zone 1     Zone 2      Zone 3    Zone  4
October 12,  1956          930,640   1,833,185  2,848,056  11, 212,568
December 13, 1965       1,083,340   1,388,153  1,465,991  12,889,664

The DCS Lands Act  became effective on August 7, 1953, when H.  R. 5134
of the 83rd  Congress was signed into law as Public Law 212.  The purpose
of the Act is defined in the title as follows:

To provide for the jurisdiction of the United States over the  submerged
lands of the Outer Continental Shelf and authorizes the Secretary of
the Interior to  lease such lands for certain purposes.

The Outer  Continental Shelf comprises that part of the Continental Shelf
which lies seaward of the portion of the submerged lands along the coast
of the United  States which Congress granted to the adjacent coastal
States in  1953.

Since the  location of parts of the Louisiana coast line is still in
dispute, MP41C  remains in the disputed zone and royalties from this
field are held  in  escrow.  However, pursuant to the above regulations,
leases that  had  been issued by the States seaward of State boundaries
 (as defined  in  the OCS Lands Act) were validated.

These leases are designated by OCS lease numbers less than 0405.  Parts
of MP41 are  held,  then, under validated state leases with the  remainder
under active Federal lease.

The responsibility for administering the leasing and operating regulations
pertaining to OCS  mineral resources was delegated to the Bureau  of Land
Management  (BLM)  and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). The  leasing
procedures and terms are outlined in Section 8 of Public Law 212.

                          APPENDIX E
Regional Response Team (RRT)

The Multi Agency Oil and Hazardous Materials  Pollution  Contingency Plan
of the FWQA, South  Central Region as represented by  the regional response
team was alerted and put on a standby basis as  of  February 11, 1970.
The team has representatives from five agencies:

Chairman (FWQA), Mr. W.  C. Galegar, Regional  Director,  South Central
Region, FWQA,  1402  Elm Street, Dallas, Texas

Alternate  (FWQA), Mr. J. T. Thornhill, Contingency Plan Officer, South
Central Region, FWQA, 1402 Elm Street, Dallas,  Texas

Executive  Secretary (USCG), Capt. L. W. Tibbets, United States Coast
Guard Division 8, Custom House, New Orleans,  Louisiana

Alternate  (USCG), Cmdr.  D. H. Dickson, Jr., United States Coast Guard
Division 8, Custom  House, New Orleans, Louisiana

Representative (U.S. AKMY, CORPS OF ENGINEERS), Mr.  J.  R. Griffith, Jr.,
Chief, Operations Branch, U.  S. Army Engineers, Lower Mississippi Valley
Division, P. 0. Box 80,  Vicksburg, Mississippi

On February 27, the team was activated jointly by the FWQA and the U. S.
Coast Guard.  Its first meeting was held in New Orleans on February 23
with Mr. Galegar as Chairman.  It was decided that the team act only in
an advisory and observational capacity since Chevron had taken full
responsibility for control and cleanup of oil pollution.  Captain Poulter,
USCG Captain of the Port, New Orleans, was appointed On-Scene Commander
for this incident.

The team met officially on February 28, March 1, 4, 11, 13 and 17.  It
was de-activated upon closure of this spill incident. (5)  All meetings
were for informational and review purposes only.  Since the team was
acting in an observational capacity, no official action was taken
affecting efforts to contain the oil.

Accession Number

Subject Field & Group
Alpine Geophysical Associates. Inc.
                Oak Street
                Norwood, New Jersey  07648
Project Designation
                  Project  Number 15Q8Q FTU
EPA. WOR Contract No.  14-12-860	
Descriptors (Starred First)
            *0il, *0il Wastes,  Oil Field, Ecosystems, Environmental Effects
Identifiers (Starred First)

   *0il Spill,  *0il Spill Control, Movement  of  Oil,  Oil Surveillance, Biological

   A documentation  team from Alpine Geophysical Associates, Inc. observed the
   Chevron spill incident and interviewed key personnel concerned.

   Little damage to the environment was observed, mostly due to a combination
   of fortuitous circumstances.  Considerable knowledge was gained concerning
   the physical limitations of spill control  in open water.  (Hirshman-Alpine
        Julius Hlrshman
                                  Alpine Geophysical Associates,  Inc.
WR:102  (REV. JULY 1969)
                            SEND. WITH COPY OF DOCUME
                                                   U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                                                   WASHINGTON, D. C. 20240
                                                                                * GPO: 1970-389-930