A video I posted last week on YouTube showing the first footage of the BP underwater oil leak has been taken down from the US Coast Guard site where I originally found it.
You can still watch the video here on YouTube where you can clearly see a column of oil pumping into the ocean. The sheer volume of oil gushing out is quite incredible - you can see it at about the 2 minute 15 second mark of the video.
ABC News is now reporting that BP is refusing to share underwater footage of the oil spill at the source. Two major leaks caused by the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion remain unmitigated, pumping an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico daily.
According to the ABC report:
"Eric Smith, a professor at Tulane University's Energy Institute said that footage could help in making independent assessments of the scope of the spill. But it also could do public relations damage to BP."
Up to this point I have been very impressed with the forthrightness of BP and their response to the Deepwater Disaster.
When it comes to public relations and crisis management, the best thing you can do is be as open and honest as possible when communicating the reality of the situation. This is not a time to cover up or play spindoctor, as it will only lead to suspicion and frustration (not to mention some pretty elaborate conspiracy theories).
Fortunately, I saved this government video to YouTube, but my reasoning for doing so at the time was only to make it more easily shareable and accessible. I had no idea that the Coast Guard would take the video down, which is just a really bad communications move.
Here's the video again for anybody who hasn't seen it:
I contacted the Coast Guard asking for the reasoning behind the video's disappearance and I have not heard back yet. I will update this article if I hear anything from them.