Dispatches from the Gulf is an Eco-Documentary that assesses the state of the Gulf of Mexico six years after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Six years ago this week, on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion ignited a fireball that could be seen as far as 40 miles away. 11 people on board the rig were killed. More than 200 million gallons of crude oil flooded out of the bore into the Gulf of Mexico.
Deepwater Horizon was owned by British Petroleum, and it was the worst oil spill in American history. This spill cost the company billions of dollars in compensation, but the compensation and cleanup didn’t fix everything.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, the disastrous flow of oil had a catastrophic effect on the Gulf’s fisheries, fauna, water and wildlife. It took quite some time to stop the huge flow and the effects were so bad that many people thought it possible the region may never recover from the tragedy.
Dispatches from the Gulf is an eco-documentary about a team of experts who decide to research the effects, to see if the Gulf will ever recover. The documentary is directed by Hal Weiner, known for Journey to Planet Earth Dispatches from the Gulf. Matt Damon narrates, and shows some very surprising things the scientists found.
The scientists learned that the sun is an amazing part of the process. They say, “the sun has done a remarkable job of breaking down the oil molecules.” Of the massive amount of petroleum slime, around 50 percent of it has evaporated, 25 percent washed up on beaches, and the other 25 percent was burned up, siphoned off or handled by dispersants.
As well as disrupting the oil industry, this disaster had a catastrophic effect on the Gulf seafood industry. Another surprising thing the scientists found is that Gulf fish have substantially recovered, with some caveats. The fish being caught are generally smaller than before the disaster.
The surprises didn’t end there, though. Contaminated coral 5,000 feet down on the ocean floor are still consuming oil. This was discovered when the scientists took a submersible down there to see what was happening.
After all they learned, the team concluded that the Gulf must continue to be monitored, because six years later, there are things unknown. This man-made calamity has caused major problems, and there may be more fallout that has not yet been discovered. They say there are no easy answers and no quick fixes for this catastrophe.
It does appear that the gumbo in New Orleans may be safe to consume.
Dispatches from the Gulf
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 60 minutes
Watch the Dispatches from the Gulf trailer: