James Cameron offers use of submarines to efforts to stop oil spill

Director James Cameron attends Seoul Digital Forum 2010
I’m conflicted about reporting this story because it breaks my heart to think of the devastation that’s going on in the Gulf right now. There’s also the very thorny issue of who is responsible, and whether President Obama and his team have properly handled the efforts to stop the massive oil leak from wreaking further havoc on the ocean’s ecosystem. Ultimately I think that BP is responsible but that the government should have stepped in sooner and more forcefully with experts from around the world instead of relying on a money-grubbing oil company to be able to clean up the mess caused from their own incompetence. Kaiser pointed me to this post Exxon Valdez law that holds energy companies responsible for cleaning up their messes that may have tied Obama’s hands and made it impossible to take jurisdiction away from BP.

While we’re watching this mess worsen hourly, all sorts of people have chimed in to try and stop this environmental disaster. There are a lot of good ideas out there. One of the people volunteering their expertise and equipment is producer/director James Cameron, who is best known for the hit Avatar.

Before we all jump on the “give me a break” bandwagon, let me say that Cameron has produced several incredible documentaries about the deep sea. He has an intimate knowledge of the ocean along with owning state of the art submarines that are advanced enough to explore the deepest and harshest regions of the ocean. I’ve seen an IMAX documentary called Volcanoes of The Deep Sea that was produced by Cameron, and it was truly awe-inspiring that he was able to get such clear footage from the very bottom of the ocean. (The movie also gave me a lot to think about in terms of the way the earth formed and how life evolved and I would recommend it.) If he can help at all, BP should take him up on his offer:

Mr Cameron, a billionaire after directing two of the highest grossing films of all time, contacted BP over the weekend to offer the use of his deep-dive craft. It is understood he has owned the craft since filming Titanic more than a decade ago.
He suggested that the manned vessels, currently in Lake Baikal in the former Soviet Union, could be used below water as part of BP’s sub-sea effort to repair the leaking oil rig, Deepwater Horizon.

BP is currently using 12 remotely operated vessels – known as ‘ROV’s’ – to carry out repair work to the blow-out preventer, the damaged safety device which sits atop the stricken rig, as part of its continuing relief effort.

Each of the ROV’s is roughly the size of a rubbish skip, and its two robotic arms are controlled by workers on ships at sea level to which they are tethered.

To date the ROV’s have been used to remove one of the two control panels from the blow-out preventer, and mend parts of its cabling ahead of the next stage in the relief operation.

That stage, known as top-hatting, will see BP attempt to propel various forms of dense material – including golf balls and pieces of car tyre – into the blow-out preventer to fill the leak, material which will be followed by mud and then cement in order to close off the well.

To date, BP has not taken Mr Cameron up on what a spokesman described as a “certainly a generous offer,” saying it has already been liaising with the US Department of Defence should it need to use manned submarines.

The Hollywood mogul’s suggestion was described as “long-term iron in the fire”, with some doubt expressed as to how exactly his vessels would be transported to the Gulf of Mexico.

BP already has what chief executive Tony Hayward described as an “armada” of 5,500 vessels involved in the rescue and clean-up operation, as well as “a small airforce including four Hercules C130s which are bombing the hell out of it [the slick] with dispersant”.

The company, which is working with rivals including ExxonMobil and Chevron plus government agencies including the US Coastguard and the US Geological Survey to take control of the looming environment disaster, is preparing to begin the top-hatting process in the next ten days.

The first step will come in the next day or so, when BP reinstalls one of the control panels on the blow-out preventer to give it the ability to operate the valves on the so-called “choke and feel” lines down which the dense material will be pumped.

Mr Hayward said that the US government, following a series of high-level visits to the affected region including one this week from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, is growing “increasingly confident that we have a method to intervene in a way that will lead to [a] permanent intervention.”

[From Telegraph.co.uk]

The people at BP have proven that they are complete idiots who will follow their own interests at all costs. Cameron knows what he’s doing and from most accounts he’s a hard ass who likes to step in and take contol. He’s also a committed environmentalists whose films deal with struggles between large corporate interests and basic human values. BP probably won’t deal with him, but they should. It would be poetic justice if Cameron’s efforts helped finally put an end to this tragedy. I’m praying that someone can do it sooner rather than later. All we’ve seen from BP is a bunch of cover ups and failed attempts.

While BP may be reluctant to deal with Cameron, the government isn’t. According to Radar he had a summit meeting with the EPA on Tuesday as part of a team of “officials, scientists and engineers” dedicated to finding a solution to stop the oil leak.

Director James Cameron attends Seoul Digital Forum 2010

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “James Cameron offers use of submarines to efforts to stop oil spill”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Katalina76 says:

    I usually hate this douche, but I say good for him. At this point I would have more confidence if he was in charge rather than BP.

  2. Victoria says:

    WHAT is Hollywoods deal???? During Katrina John Travolta got there first passing out water, Sean Penn’s taking care of hurrican victems in Haiti and now James Camerooooon is going to fix the whole in the earth? Do they HAVE these world saving capabilities or do they just THINK they do?!

  3. Eileen Yover says:

    We’re heading to Florida Keys on the 15th for a vacation and I hope and pray the oil hasn’t made it that far by then!

    I hope they take help from WHOEVER to get this fixed. My daughter got to swim with a wild dolphin last year named Scar in Destin, FL and she is so upset by all this she’s ready to shave her head and donate her hair to the giant oil sponge to help however she can because she wants to save Scar. Its horrible what is happening down there!

    And did I hear wrong that the lead jackass from BP said something like -“No one wants this over more than I do so I can get my life back” ??? Because if he did, he needs a nice cup of STFU and an ass kicking.

  4. Just a Poster says:

    What happened to Kevin Costner and his doodad?

  5. Mando says:

    I hope BP is fined so severally it puts them out of business. (The EPA’s clean water act, maybe?) That won’t fix what happened but I don’t think we should trust them ever again. Judging by the amount of safety infractions they get, per year, it’s only a matter of time before something like this happens again.

  6. Tia C says:

    @ Eileen – I don’t know if I’d still be going down there then if I were you. I wish you luck. A lot of folks are now coming to Savannah, where I live, instead of Florida. Not that the oil has reached Florida yet, but, you know how people overreact. Our beaches have been much more populated than usual since the spill has been going on.

    Anyway, these idiots at BP could do worse than taking Cameron up on this offer. At this point they should try anything and everything. I can’t begin to imagine what the extent of the ecological damage from this accident is going to be.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I don’t care who helps or how they do it – Cameron with dive crafts, Costner and his rig, or if Kim Kardashian finally putting her big butt to some use and sits on it – as long as someone figures out a way to stop it!

    I’m in agreement, CB. I think it’s BP’s fault and they are responsible, but I too wish the feds had shoved them aside when they weren’t getting anywhere. If their hands were tied by the laws, say F it, this is a huge disaster and declare a state of emergency or something. It amazes me that they all have the technology to extract the oil, but no clear cut way to shut down the well if something goes wrong.

    My heart really goes out to all the people and environments affected by this mess.

  8. Sugar & Spice says:

    @ Victoria – They DO HAVE the equipment, money and desire to help, so why not use it? Who cares if they’re from Hollywood or not, if they’re doing something to really help out? Unless you were in NO, Haiti and on the ocean right now trying to plug the oil leak, then just keep your ignorant comments to yourself, or talk to your mirror.

  9. Eileen Yover says:

    Tia C. -SAVANNAH! I LOVE it there! We went there over spring break and stayed on Tybee Island and I went into Savannah everyday and did all the tours. Its SO beautiful there! I fell in love with The Paris Market in downtown and want to go down there when I’m ready to decorate my house!
    I’ve lived in Atlanta for 7 years and just now went down there and am totally kicking myself for waiting this long. I told my husband I want to move down there but I keep hearing from people who have lived there that its a great place to visit, but not to live. Is that true??

  10. As someone who lives in the marsh land that is southern Louisiana, litteraly, I have to say thank you to anyone who helps no matter how or why. After hurricane Katrina I came back and set up house in my home town, a fishing town. All of my friends stayed away and I have taken flack for my decision. I always say, “The water is my home. I can’t go to far for to long.” The wildlife, the waterways – they become part of you when you grow up here. This spill is killing my home, slowly and savagely. It’s taking my heart out. I pray that they fix it, as soon as they can. I have fear in my soul – over what will happen in the coming years.
    James Cameron – everyone making efforts – THANK YOU>

  11. lena says:

    well if he can do it…let him do it

  12. Roma says:

    @Little Fat Me: Your post just made me feel so emotional.

    A natural disaster is devastating enough, but to realize that this could have been prevented is beyond abhorrent. Reiterates the need for the world to stop being so dependent upon oil.

  13. meme says:

    I don’t give a flying fajita who fixes this PREVENTABLE disaster just plug that damn hole up already and start cleaning up the oil. Disgraceful and disgusting. I hope BP goes out of business and charges are filed against some of their execs for negligence. The whole thing breaks my heart.

  14. Juice in LA says:

    For once, I applaud Cameron’s offer and efforts… and although I know you crazy kids like to steer clear of politico reporting here at CB, I applaud the coverage you have provided in this blurb- and thank you for telling people about the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

    I am (as usual) sick to acknowledge that its no surprise that a Bush passed a law binding the hands of the government against big oil interests.

    Also, my heart breaks for @Little fat me, all the animals, ecology, land and everyone else whose lives have been devastated by this disaster.

  15. dread pirate cuervo says:

    Good on James Cameron! He’s helmed the top 2 highest grossing movies ever (& his others didn’t do too shabby either). You know what that says to me? He’s a creative genius. Key word being creative. Since the oil rig experts can’t fix the mess they made, thinking out of the box is exactly what’s needed. BP’s ideas include plugging the hole with golf balls (!?!?!) & putting mud on it (?!?!?!?). Again, golf balls & mud.

  16. hairball says:

    Meme, TOTALLY agree. BP should go out of business for this UNACCEPTABLE disaster. There is NO way business should continue on as usual for them once this is finally (??) resolved.

    I like Obama (please don’t start hate rants), BUT even with the law in place, it should have been suspended by Congress as an emergency and BP pushed aside. This is so unacceptable to me. Obviously BP has NO idea how to stop this and apparently thought it was ok to just keep drilling in the ocean floor but with no idea how to stop a disaster.

    Let’s also not forget the people who were killed / injuried in the explosion.

  17. meme says:

    @hairball – i don’t want to start obama bashing (i’m not a fan) but his response, or lack thereof, to this disaster has been anything but presidential. but, then again, the wheels are coming off the world, aren’t they?

  18. nova says:

    good on comment 14, legal info BG, and actually many of the hair/stocking boons that were made from donated hair and pantyhose have been shelved by BP in lieu of the chemical based dispersants, and many fishermen presently out of work, are getting sick.
    According to a NY Science Times article in the past couple of years, there are several hot spots in the Gulf that never really go away. It’ll be interesting [at best], to see how it affects the friggin’ [nicest word i can use here] humidity here on the east coast, because it already sucks, and this isn’t going to help in the least.

  19. Maggie Grace says:

    I’m a Cameron-detester, but I say good move. It could be helpful.

  20. Tia C says:

    @ Maggie Grace – a “Cameron-detester” – LOL! That’s not too difficult sometimes…

    @ Eileen: I also found Savannah via Atlanta. I love living here, it’s like being on vacation all the time. The big drawback is the employment situation. Jobs don’t pay very well here. Of course that all depends on what you do for a living. The biggest thing that bugs me here is the divide between the haves and the have nots. But it is a beautiful place to live!

  21. Rachel says:

    @ Suger & Spice, thank you. I agree that a person’s humanitarian efforts should never be ridiculed regardless of their fame or status. They are trying, which is more than most, and all that matters.

    I’m not Obama bashing either (I think he’s doing the best he can with the mess he inherited), but his administration can’t take any more hits right now, and think about what would happen if the govt did step in and couldn’t do any better than BP.

  22. original kate says:

    that is pretty cool of cameron. at this point my 8 year old nephew could do a better job than BP (who, by the way, can suck it). i really hope they use their last dollar doing cleanup in the gulf and then declare bankruptcy.

  23. buckley says:

    Dare I say my dislike of him has lessen a lot!

  24. Kiska says:

    Does it really matter WHO steps up to solve this catastrophe? It is time to put aside all the politics and bs and get the job done.

  25. ahoymatey says:

    @ Just a Poster: I heard an oil-spill expert guy (technical title, I’m sure) on the radio this morning saying Kevin Costner’s doodad hasn’t been proven to work well enough for this large a spill, although at this point I’d think they’d try any option.

  26. Lilias says:

    meme: Obama wasn’t allowed to get his hands into it by law. The oil companies claim to know what they are doing-they know that they should have had safeguards in place but they didn’t want to spend the money to do it and the former president was so tied up with them that he never had the EPA go check and make sure that what they were doing was sound.

    Obama should be able to be President and concern himself with ending the war, health care and other such things. BP SHOULD have had ways of fixing this type of disaster. They are responsible. You don’t like Obama, fine. But don’t push the responsibilities of a private company on the President of our country.

    Now that it has become clear that they are complete blunderers when it comes to cleaning up their own mess, I think Obama should go ahead and step in. But it was not, legally, his responsibility to clean up an oil spill. It’s like saying that a mom is responsible for cleaning up her adult child’s house. They have the resources and know-how. They are just too lazy or stupid.

    Anyway, I’m all for anyone coming in and helping with the clean-up. James Cameron is a douche but I’d rather have his douche submarines helping out than not.

  27. Bodhi says:

    Well, if he has the resources then I say let him give it a whirl. its not anyone can eff up more than BP already has…

    Savannah is a great little city! I have a feeling that there are gonna be alot more people coming to my hometown (Charleston, SC) because of the spill. Although, if the oil gets sucked up in the loop current our beaches are gonna be effed too 🙁

  28. Jane Q. Doe says:

    If memory serves, Cameron holds numerous patents, developed from “The Abyss” to “Avatar” – so clearly he’s not some airhead looking for recognition. Maybe some outside-the-box thinking could help. How many people own their own subs?!

    And there’s some blame due to the federal regulators, who were lax in performing the required safety checks (under several presidents). I sure hope they’ve hopped to it and shored up the other oil rigs to ensure this isn’t just the first of a series of nightmares.

  29. Shi-gatsu says:

    Love you CB!

  30. Sincerity says:

    Like him or not, James Cameron’s offer should be seriously considered, especially if he has submarines with the necessary technology to assist with the development of a possible solution. Frankly, I gave up on BP a very long time ago and it’s going to require a concerted effort of individuals and organizations that aren’t primarily concerned with “making a buck” to clean up that mess!

  31. Nele says:

    I agree with all of you who say to let him lend a hand – he seems quite determined to succeed once he starts something. And BP has failed miserably so far and I can see that I am one of so many having their heart broken on what is going on in the Gulf. I have been visiting this site for quite some years now and I appreciate and love it. Many have donated and quite a lot others are actively working there trying to help clear the beaches and helping the wildlife and the people. But still many of us, myself included, feel incredibly helpless and want very much for this to stop so that this wonderful part of our earth can start to heal.
    What I wish to propose is something slightly different. I do believe in the force of peoples positive energy this article – thank you CB – made me think that we could try to combine all of the visitors positive energy to focus said energy with all the strength and might in loving thought on the oil well spewing forth the on a certain day, like say Sunday 6th at a certain time (could be local time, like the time the sun rises on that day in New Orleans). At that exact minute we could all focus on pushing with all our love and positive might down on the damaged pipe, imaging in our minds our combined pressure is going to move enough material and thereby closing the spill.
    If any site has enough positive people to make an enterprise like this work, this one is.

  32. ganjagirl says:

    its hell on earth down here and the PIGS at bp have no way to stop it. i am afraid the govt will nuke it. the pressure they hit is unprecedented. they had no business doing what they did. god save us and all things bright and beautiful.

  33. erika says:

    If Cameron can help – and it sounds like he can – then that’s awesome, and I’m so glad.

    Whether or not Obama and his administration are doing all they can is a good question. I voted for the man, and I generally like him-as-person/politician, but I am not impressed by the Obama Team response to the BP oil disaster (among other things.)

    I live in Pensacola, FL, and we’re expecting oil to wash ashore sometime this week. I seriously hope James Cameron does what he can to help plug that leak.

    Then I hope he takes his sub to Nigeria. They worst spills – at least one worse than this one – happen there, over 300 per year.

  34. Majosha says:

    Let’s face it, when the government (regardless of who’s in charge) and the corporate executives are the only two entities trying to solve a problem, we’re all f*cked. I say let James, and anyone else with a viable idea, have at it.

  35. The Bobster says:

    Finally a use for J-Lo’s ass.

  36. Morgs says:

    ^^^^^ Hahahahahhahahaahahaahaaaa!!!!

  37. My2Cents says:

    What I dont understand is WHY ARE NOT CLOSING ALL THE OTHER RIGS?

  38. hairball says:

    I agree, I was saying I have not been impressed with Obama’s handling of this total disaster. How long are they going to let BP f*ck it up and not fix it????

  39. Cakes says:

    This is tragic. I wonder what the environmental fall-out is going to be. I cant put into words how gross this whole situation is to me.

  40. DetRiotgirl says:

    I can’t stand James Cameron. However, I applaud him for doing this. I may have to move him down a spot on my list of Hollywood’s most obnoxious, self-absorbed wind bags. Looks like John Mayer just moved to the top of the list!

  41. ChinaCat says:

    Can you imagine the size of his ego if BP takes him up on this and somehow it works? I’d be willing to live with him ramble on about how he “saved the world” if it did work.
    AND his documentaries (and T2) ARE amazing…