NEW ORLEANS, April 29 (UPI) -- BP officials said Thursday they welcome help from any quarter, including the U.S. military, as it tries to staunch the leak of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We'll take help from anyone," company spokesman Doug Suttles said in an interview on NBC News. "We welcome the offer from the Department of Defense. We're working with experts from across the industry. We welcome the help of the government. We're not interested in where the idea comes from. We're interested in how do we stop this flow and how do we stop it now."
Suttles acknowledge the leak, which started April 20 when an explosion hit the Transocean rig Deepwater Horizon leased by BP, leaving 11 workers missing and presumed dead, could be as much as 5,000 barrels a day. He said it could take up to 90 days to stop the leak if the task requires drilling a relief well. He said drilling equipment was arriving at the site Thursday.
"We will do absolutely everything we can to make that happen as soon as possible," he said.
BP Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said the oil company's "full resources" are being brought to bear on the leak.
"We are attacking this spill on all fronts, bringing into play all and any resources and advanced technologies we believe can help," he said.
The cleanup effort has included attempts to burn off some of the crude oil that has reached the surface, dozens of vessels to skim off the spreading oil and hundreds of thousands of feet of barriers to contain it and protect the coastline, the company said.
More than 16,000 barrels of oil-water mix had been recovered the company said, and more than 76,000 gallons of dispersant had been deployed.
BP, which has a 65 percent ownership in the oil field, said preliminary estimates are that the cleanup is costing owners about $6 million a day.
The prospect of the oil slick coating the gulf shores has fishermen and others who make a livelihood there worried, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Thursday.
Nearly 200 fishermen showed up at the St. Bernard Parish Council chambers to provide input on the best locations to deploy containment booms.
Charles Robin, a St. Bernard shrimper, said it's hard to pinpoint specific areas because the whole region is important.
"We call that our heartland, man," he said. "That's our prime fishing grounds."