Celebrities join Oceana to announce findings and plans from Gulf of Mexico research expedition

Award winning actors Ted Danson, Morgan Freeman, and Spanish model Almudena Fernández show support for the international organizations´ efforts to analyze long term effect of oil spill

Press Release Date: August 24, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Gulfport, Mississippi, August 24, 2010 – Oceana, celebrity activists and corporate partner Nautica, will meet in Mississippi, today to provide an update on the first legs of its two-month research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico and discuss its upcoming deepwater oil exploration efforts near the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Oceana will report on its efforts to document vulnerable habitats from the Florida Keys to Panama City at risk from future oil spills as well as the results of its project to tag whale sharks, a species at risk from the Gulf oil disaster.

Award-winning actors Ted Danson and Morgan Freeman will be joined by New York-based Spanish model Almudena Fernández and San Pedro (Belize) mayor Elsa Paz.

According to Xavier Pastor, the Executive Director of Oceana Europe who is leading the expedition, reports stating that the oil in the Gulf of Mexico has disappeared have been grossly exaggerated to mislead the public about the severity of the situation. In fact, since Oceana’s expedition began earlier this month, two new scientific studies have shown that; 1) nearly 80 percent of the estimated 200 million gallons of oil that has spewed into the Gulf since the explosion is still present; and 2) oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster has been found on the sea floor.

This leg of the voyage will use sophisticated sensors to map the underwater oil plume in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon site as well as an ROV to investigate the important habitat area known as ‘The Pinnacles’ off the coast of Alabama.

The research expedition is taking place aboard the Oceana Latitude, a 170 foot vessel adapted to serve as a research and diving platform. The expedition employs specialized divers, underwater photographers and videographers as well as ROVs to analyze the magnitude of the oil spill and its effect on sensitive habitats and marine species.

Oceana’s experts and scientific collaborators are tagging several shark species to monitor their migration patterns and study their ability to avoid oil contaminated areas, in addition to taking samples of fish larvae, plankton and adult fish. Oceana’s scientists from both sides of the Atlantic are also collaborating with the National Aquarium and several universities, including the University of Miami.

2010 Gulf of Mexico Expedition and Map of affected marine life