Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher asked Admiral Allen about James Cameron and his efforts to aid BP:
Tommy Christopher: My second question — director James Cameron says he offered to help film the site, the disaster site, and BP told him no. And what he says is that currently the video stream we have, the only video we have, images of the actual leak, are controlled by what he characterizes as the “criminals.” Doesn’t he have a point that maybe it’s worth some risk to have someone other than BP provide images of that leak?
ADMIRAL ALLEN: I know he met with Lisa Jackson and some of our folks who were in the room. I would just make this observation — and I haven’t talked to Mr. Cameron myself. All the video that’s coming out of that operation right now, from the remotely operated vehicles, is available, okay? And we’ve made that — actually, there was some concern when we started the top kill process that it might put too much pressure on the operators, and BP actually wanted to have a delayed broadcast to remove that risk in the control room. And it was decided, after a conversation between myself and Tony Hayward, that the need for transparency overwhelmed whatever additional risk might be created by that.
So — and the other thing you have to understand is they’re conducting what they would call simops — what the industry would call simultaneous operations. Within about a one square mile area around that wellhead and the riser pipe and everything else, at any particular time you could have between 14 and 20 ROVs operating down there. The need to de-conflict those for safety reasons is a valid one.
When we were using the riser insertion tool, if you remember, when we started that they had to stop and reinsert it. The reason they had to do that was the ROVs that were doing the subsea dispersant application and the ROVs that were working the insertion tube actually bumped into each other, and it caused the tube to be dislodged and they had to do it again. So there’s an issue about density and the amount of ROVs you can bring down there.
And I appreciate Mr. Cameron’s comments, but I believe trying to put one more ROV down there might actually increase the risk to the operation, and there are a number of ROVs operating down there.
This should go over well at the next Hollywood fundraiser.