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Gulf oil spill: BP's latest attempt to stop leak encounters problem [Updated]

May 15, 2010 |  9:46 am

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says BP had a problem with its latest attempt to stop the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill but is continuing the effort to stick a mile-long tube into the gusher at the ocean floor.

Salazar offered few details about the snag that occurred early Saturday during a briefing at a bird rescue center near Ft. Jackson, La.

BP technicians have been carefully trying to guide the skinny tube into a leaking oil pipe to siphon crude to the surface.

A stopper surrounding the tube would keep oil from leaking into the ocean. Salazar said the company had to reconfigure its approach but is continuing the work.

“They are back down again … trying to get it inserted,” Salazar said, although he wouldn't elaborate. A BP spokesman said he hadn't received the report Salazar had, so he couldn't comment on it.

[Updated at 9:55 a.m.: BP has offered scant details of its progress in trying to thread the 6-inch tube into the 21-inch pipe spewing oil from the ocean floor. Company spokesmen said technicians were continuing the methodical work of using joysticks to guide the deep-sea robots that are manipulating the contraption, but wouldn't elaborate on Salazar's report.

"We've never done such operations before and we need to take our time to get it right," BP spokesman Jon Pack said in an e-mail Saturday.]

-- Associated Press