Yevgenii Chernyaev told BBC News in an interview published Friday there still was time for the Russian sub and its twin to help in the gulf, where oil has been leaking since April 20, when the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP exploded, then sank two days later. Eleven rig workers died in the explosion.
Chernyaev said that his team has discussed the oil spill on several occasions and the Russians would be ready to assist, but only if things were done right and the decision to ask for help came from the government level. He said the pair of the subs were probably the only deep-sea vessels in the world capable of stopping the leak.
"We need a team of international specialists and we have to know all the details and probably even build a special device to attach to the subs, and all this needs time," Chernyaev said.
The pilot said the two subs, which can dive to 19,685 feet, can work and submerge simultaneously.
"Also, they are powerful enough to work with any other additional equipment," he said.
The subs currently are searching for gas hydrates, a potential alternative fuel source, at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia.