May 8, 2012 - Over two years after the BP oil disaster, the environmental group Greenpeace has received more than 300 new images, taken in 2010, of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill showing oil-covered turtles and sperm whales swimming through oil. The images were taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Greenpeace had submitted a Freedom of Information Request for images and information related to the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010. The request finally came through and what was offered was this first batch of files.
The disturbing images, all taken in 2010, show oil-drenched turtles and sperm whales swimming through oil.
Here, a dead turtle is shown on Whiskey Beach
Greepeace spokesman John Hocevar says the images undercut the rosy view of the spill that federal officials portrayed at the time.
Greenpeace says this is an image of boxes inside a truck containing dead sea turtles that did not survive rescue and cleanup efforts.
On Friday, BP won a delay for a civil trial to assign damages from the disaster, the worst marine spill in U.S. history.
"The sea turtle pictures we all saw were turtles being rescued and released into the wild. These images show what appear to be garbage bags full of dead turtles and boxes in freezer truck,” Hocevar added.
"Through the summer of 2010, while the oil is still gushing into the gulf of Mexico and the government is doing their best to put a positive spin on everything, they are sitting on images of horribly oiled turtles," Hocevar said.
Scott Smullen, NOAA's spokesperson, released this statement to DiscoveryNews:
"During the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, NOAA made thousands of photographs taken by our scientists available to ensure the public had access to these important images. Below are several links that represent NOAA’s role during the spill and provide website visitors additional information from the spill."
NOAA’s Deepwater Horizon image gallery
NOAA Fisheries’ images/information from Gulf spill (turtles)
NOAA Fisheries’ images/information from Gulf spill (dolphins)
NOAA Fisheries’ images/information from Gulf spill (marine mammals)
By the end of the spill, NOAA said it picked up 613 dead sea turtles from the northern Gulf of Mexico and relocated 274 turtle nests to Florida.
NOAA officials said in 2010 that a loss of only three adults could crash the population of endangered sperm whales living there, the Washington Post reported.
Here, sperm whales are seen surfacing in an oil slick.
A dead Kemp's ridley sea turtle, an endangered species, was accompanied in the photo with a placard showing it was recovered from the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles south of the border of Mississippi and Alabama, according to the Times Picayune.
Many sea turtles like this one were discovered covered in oil after the BP spill.
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Of the five turtle species in the Gulf of Mexico, four are endangered and the fifth species is threatened.
Pictured here: A large cyst on the underbelly of a turtle.
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This is an aerial shot of clean up ships trying to protect a wetland in St. Barnard's Parish, La., taken June 10, 2010.
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A dead, oil-covered turtle is shown washed up on the shore.
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