As if there weren't enough complications with the Gulf oil spill
containment efforts, this morning lightning
struck the Discoverer Enterprise
, the ship collecting the oil from the leaking well, and set it on fire, BP reported today.
The fire was put out, but BP has suspended its oil collection operation as a precaution. The company said that it expects to start pumping oil to the ship again later today, as soon as operational and safety inspections are complete.
Approximately 15,000 barrels of oil have been captured in the last 24 hours.
The Discoverer Enterprise is an 835-foot drillship that is the center of the containment operations right now. The leaking oil collected by the containment cap at the well head is pumped 5,000 feet up to the ship at the ocean's surface, where it is processed and offloaded to other boats.
The fire began at approximately 9:30 a.m. CDT this morning on the oil ship's derrick, which can be seen in the photo below.