High tech Russian subs could stop oil leak, skipper says

Yevgenii Chernyaev helms the Mir-2, one of four manned vessels in the world capable of operating at the depths of BP's leaking oil well, and he's confident that his vessel, along with its sister-ship Mir-1, would be able to get the job done. The holdup? No one's asked.

"Our subs are unique," Chernyaev said. "There are two of them and they can submerge and work simultaneously. Also, they are powerful enough to work with any other additional equipment."

The additional equipment is key. Specially fabricated tools to cap the leak, as well as a "team of international specialists" would be needed for the job, which the Mir-2 captain warns all takes time. That means, this late in the game, it'd be another late gamble to kill the flow of the damaged well, which has been spewing into the Gulf for months.

"And we would not refuse to help, even though for us it would be very complicated, especially right now," Chernyaev said. Both he and the Russian government are surprised that no one came to them when it all started, and still haven't.

"There are only four vessels in the world that can go down to 6,000m — the Mirs, French Nautile and Japanese Shinkai. The Mirs are known to be the best, and we have a very experienced team of specialists."

A fleet of deep-sea robots, specialized ships, several wacky plans and even the aid of Kevin Costner have not been able to stop the leak. The last resort is still using freshly-drilled relief wells to stem the flow, though those probably won't be ready until sometime in August.

Via BBC News

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