Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gulf Oil Spill to Have Far-Reaching Consequences

While news continues unabated out of the Gulf of Mexico, where an oil spill continues to grow, what many who don’t yet feel directly affected by the spill probably don’t realize is the ripple effect that it will cause. The oil has already shut down massive swaths of the gulf to fishing, as well as shipping lanes at the mouth of the Mississippi River, meaning that cargo vessels can’t pass. While the fishing industry would seem likely to be affected by the spill, things like fruit, rubber, steel, building materials and many other products destined for far flung destinations around the U.S. will also likely rise in price in the coming days.

Said River pilot Michael Lorino, speaking of the plight faced by cargo ships, "Let’s say it gets real bad. It gets blocked off and they don’t let anything in. They lose time, and they are very concerned about that. It’s going to be very costly if they have to unload that cargo in another port and ship it back here because it was destined for here." Several river boat pilots interviewed noted that the oil slick yesterday was about 15 miles off the Southwest Pass, an area where ships headed into New Orleans enter the Mississippi.

BP will lose billions of dollars as a result of the oil spill, but as the third largest oil company in the world, will likely be able to handle it. But from Florida to Texas, other smaller businesses are getting hit hard, including restaurants, hotels, casinos and a wide variety of travel-industry companies around the gulf. One hotel and bar owner who expects an influx of cleanup crews to be staying in her establishment noted, "They won’t be having as much fun, but they might be buying more liquor at the bar, because they’ll be so depressed."