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Photos: Month 4

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  1. The Blue Dolphin, left, and the HOS Centerline, the ships supplying the mud for the static kill operation on the Helix Q4000, are seen delivering mud through hoses at the site of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana, on Aug. 3, 2010. In the background is the Development Driller III, which is drilling the primary relief well. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Eddie Forsythe and Don Rorabough dump a box of blue crabs onto a sorting table at B.K. Seafood in Yscloskey, La., on Aug. 3, 2010. The crabs were caught by fisherman Garet Mones. Commercial and recreational fishing has resumed, with some restrictions in areas that were closed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Chuck Cook / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sea turtle hatchlings that emerged from eggs gathered on the northern Gulf Coast of Florida are released at Playalinda Beach on the Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville, Fla., on Aug. 2, 2010. The sea turtles were born at a Kennedy Space Center incubation site, where thousands of eggs collected from Florida and Alabama beaches along the Gulf of Mexico have been sent. (Craig Rubadoux / Florida Today via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A crab, covered with oil, walks along an oil absorbent boom near roso-cane reeds at the South Pass of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana on Aug. 1, 2010. BP is testing the well to see if it can withstand a "static kill" which would close the well permanently. (Pool / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A boat motors through a sunset oil sheen off East Grand Terre Island, where the Gulf of Mexico meets Barataria Bay on the La. coast, on the evening of July 31. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Oil approaches a line of barges and boom positioned to protect East Grand Terre Island, partially seen at top right, on July 31. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is seen near an unprotected island in the Gulf of Mexico near Timbalier Bay, off the coast of Louisiana on Wednesday, July 28. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Greenpeace activists stand outside a BP gas station in London, England, on July 27 after they put up a fence to cut off access. Several dozen BP stations in London were temporarily shut down to protest the Gulf spill. (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. James Wilson sells T-shirts to those arriving in Grand Isle, La., for the music festival Island Aid 2010 on July 24. (Dave Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Activists covered in food coloring made to look like oil protest BP's Gulf oil spill in Mexico City on July 22. The sign at far left reads in Spanish "Petroleum kills animals." (Alexandre Meneghini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. People in Lafayette, La., wear "Keep Drilling" tee shirts at the "Rally for Economic Survival" opposing the federal ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, July 21. Supporters at the rally want President Obama to lift the moratorium immediately to protect Louisiana's jobs and economy. (Ann Heisenfelt / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A flock of white ibis lift off from marsh grass on Dry Bread Island in St. Bernard Parish, La., July 21. Crews found about 130 dead birds and 15 live birds affected by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on July 19 in the eastern part of the parish behind the Chandeleur Islands. (Patrick Semansky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP Oil Spill Victim Compensation Fund testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on July 21 in Washington, D.C. The hearing was to examine the claim process for victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An American white pelican has its wings checked during a physical examination at Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Hospital by Michael Adkesson and Michael O’Neill on July 21. The bird, along with four other pelicans, was rescued from the Gulf Coast oil spill and will be placed on permanent exhibit at the zoo. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Native people of the Gwich'in Nation form a human banner on the banks of the Porcupine River near Ft. Yukon, Alaska July 21, in regard to the BP oil spill with a message to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil development. The images include a Porcupine caribou antler and a threatened Yukon River Salmon. (Camila Roy / Spectral Q via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Gerald Herbert / AP
    Above: Slideshow (15) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 4
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    Slideshow (64) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 3
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    Digitalglobe / Getty Images Contributor
    Slideshow (81) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 2
  4. Image: Dispersed oil caught in the wake of a transport boat floats on the Gulf of Mexico
    Hans Deryk / Reuters
    Slideshow (53) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 1
  5. Image:
    Gerald Herbert / AP
    Slideshow (10) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Rig explosion

Video: 'Unprecedented' effort to dig relief wells

  1. Transcript of: 'Unprecedented' effort to dig relief wells

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: In the meantime, BP continues to drill the two relief wells that may be the last and best hope for stopping this catastrophic gush of oil. NBC 's Anne Thompson got a firsthand look today at the push to finish those wells and get them online. She joins us tonight from Houma , Louisiana . Anne :

    ANNE THOMPSON reporting: Good evening, Lester . Today I got a chance to go out to the Development Driller II , or DD2 . It's one of two rigs working on the ultimate solution to plug the well that plagues the gulf. It is a ride through the clouds to get to the rig. When you can see the gulf, the current lines stand out in oily relief. As you get closer, the water is marred with tentacles of crude. Around the site there is an armada of aid, and yet a mile below the surface the well still gushes. This is the DD2 . It is where they are drilling the second relief well. Over here, this is the DD3 . That is where they are drilling the first relief well. And it is within 1800 feet of the out-of-control well. The goal? To kill the well that killed 11 men on the Deepwater Horizon , something offshore installation manager Chris Wakowsky never forgets. How's the well going?

    Mr. CHRIS WAKOWSKY: Well's going good. We're sticking on our target here for August, and everything's going as planned. The guys are really driven and motivated.

    THOMPSON: So far the massive drill has dug 12,000 feet below the water and started the turn towards the well. The casing is stacked, ready to go. Wendell Guidry is the drilling superintendent. What's the job of the casing?

    Mr. WENDELL GUIDRY: The casing actually seals the well bore that you drill, seals it off, keeps all the formations on the outside of it.

    THOMPSON: So it holds the shape of the hole that you've drilled.

    Mr. GUIDRY: That's correct.

    THOMPSON: The effort out here is unprecedented. There are 173 workers on the DD2 , 1500 workers in total on the 45 rigs and vessels. It is a constant reminder to those on board that the world is watching.

    Mr. MITCHELL BULLOCK (BP Well Site Leader): This is just a high-profile well. I'm a put it this way. This is probably the most important well I've ever been on in my life. How's that?

    THOMPSON: This weekend on the DD2 there is a lot of talk about Tropical Storm Alex . If a tropical storm or hurricane threatens this part of the gulf, it will be Matt Makowski 's job to move the platform. He is the captain of the rig. To unhook everything, to pack up the rig, that takes how long?

    Mr. MATT MAKOWSKI: It depends where we are. Right now it could take about -- approximately one to two days.

    THOMPSON: About two days.

    Mr. MAKOWSKI: Yeah.

    THOMPSON: And then do you go into shore?

    Mr. MAKOWSKI: No, we will stay offshore and we'll try to just get as far as possible from the storm.

    THOMPSON: Now, weighing some 46,000 tons, the DD2 does not move fast. It only travels at a speed of about six to seven miles an hour. So it needs a lot of lead time to shut down and get out of the way. Lester :

    HOLT: Anne Thompson tonight. Anne , thank

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