Containment Dome Nearly in Place
Giant structure being lowered over blown-out well
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 7, 2010 6:33 AM CDT
A pod of Bottle Nose dolphins swim under the oily water of Chandeleur Sound, La., Thursday.   (Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – The big dome is nearly there. With the guidance of undersea robots, crews in the Gulf of Mexico are gingerly lowering the 100-ton concrete-and-steel box over a blown-out well on the ocean floor this morning. If all goes well—and we won't know until Sunday when it's fully operational—it will collect 85% of the oil spewing into the Gulf and funnel it up to a tanker.

The box was lowered into the oily water shortly after 10pm last night to begin its descent into position over the gusher. Underwater robots have been clearing pieces of pipe and other debris near where the box will be placed to avoid complications. "We haven't done this before," said a BP spokesman. "It's very complex and we can't guarantee it." The quest took on added urgency as oil yesterday reached several barrier islands off the Louisiana coast that are fragile animal habitats.