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Gulf oil problem could be ours

READ MORE: Gulf oil problem could be ours

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Oil continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico from that rig that exploded last month. Today BP's chief executive said a containment dome designed to cover the leak will be on the seabed Thursday, and will be hooked up to a drill ship to remove the oil. This procedure has never been done before at a depth of 5,000 feet, but if all goes according to plan, the principal leak could be contained by early next week.

Experts say the longer oil continues to leak, the greater the chance, albeit slim, that it could make it's way out of the Gulf and up the East Coast.

More than 200,000 gallons of oil continue to spew from the ocean floor each day. The concern for us lies below the water. Ocean currents move water around all the time. In the Gulf, the loop current flows south - through the straits of florida, and up the East Coast. If oil could seep into that current, it could become North Carolina's problem.

"If we had a major oil spill along our coast locally, there are multiple concerns," said Martin Posey, chair of UNCW's Biology Department. "One of the ones you just can't underestimate are the effects it'll have on people coming here. If you have oil on the beaches, oil in the marshes, it smells oily, you're not going to come here."

Some local fishermen are already seeing effects. Those that import Gulf of Mexico oysters are now unable to get in any shipments. Those in the fishing industry say that if any oil were to come ashore here, the results would be a disaster to the local economy and ecology.

More than nine million gallons of oil have now spilled into the Gulf. That's closing in on the 11 million gallons of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

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