Fears that BP oil spill may reach Irish coastline
Gulf Stream could ferry damaging oil slick to Ireland's west coast
Fears have been expressed that the BP oil spill will eventually make its way to the Irish coast because of being carried on the Gulf stream currents.
International oil experts say that the horrific contamination will eventually spread from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
Research by the American-based National Center for Atmospheric Research has found that oil from the spill may well spread along thousands of miles of the Atlantic coast within a few weeks.
That has created real concern that the oil will find its way to Irish coastline, especially the western seaboard.
The Irish Coast Guard says it is actively monitoring events and is receiving daily updates from the Monitoring Information Center in Brussels and the European Maritime Safety Agency but that so far there is no immediate cause for alarm.
The Marine Institute which is also monitoring the oil spill says it did not know enough about the composition of the oil to make a definitive statement.
Lighter oil would evaporate quicker but heavier, thicker oil could would be carried across the ocean if it was to enter the Gulf stream.
"The Marine Institute has no details of the chemical composition of the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico and therefore cannot make an authoritative statement on this scenario," it said.
Professor Michael Hayes of at the University of Limerick stated that that the "only tangible possibility" of the oil reaching Ireland was via the Gulf Stream.
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