On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit 40 miles off of the coast of Louisiana claimed the lives of 11 workers and resulted in a historic oil spill in the Macondo Prospect oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was – and still is – the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. An estimated 210 million gallons flowed into the Gulf until the damaged wellhead was declared sealed on Sept. 19, 2010.
An NGA Crisis Action Team – composed of volunteers from several branches throughout the agency – was stood up soon after the explosion and provided essential intelligence analysis and geospatial intelligence products to the U.S. Coast Guard, the lead federal agency in the response to the spill. NGA’s support to the oil spill remediation efforts included providing analysis, unclassified commercial satellite imagery and geospatial products of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding Gulf Coast areas. The products included three-dimensional models of major infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, operational planning map atlases and graphics depicting the extent of the oil spill.