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Cameron: 'Oil chiefs refused my help'

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Jun 03, 2010 | 5:00am EDT

Oil has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico since a BP rig collapsed in April (10) - sparking one of the worst environmental disasters in America's history.

The Titanic director, a deep-sea diving pioneer who has worked extensively with robot submarines, met with experts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday (01Jun10) to "brainstorm" solutions to stem the leak.

Speaking at the All Things Digital technology conference, he explains, "There's a story that the government went to Hollywood for help. But that's not the case. I've just been interested and really involved in subs and wrecks for a long time. So over the last few weeks, I've been watching what's happening and saying, 'Those morons don't know what they're doing.' And then I realised I know a lot of people who work in deep submergence. They don't do oil, but they know the engineering. So I got 23 people together for a brainstorming session at EPA headquarters."

But Cameron has now revealed his offer of help was "graciously" turned down by bosses at British oil giant BP.

He says, "They could not have been more gracious. But they said, 'We've got this'. Here's the thing, we sat in a room for 10 hours and worked this problem. It's a very complex problem, and it starts 18,000 feet down. Steel fails like it's made out of butter. So you find out there are things that prevent them from doing obvious fixes. But there are things that can be done."

And Cameron has urged the U.S. government to do more to monitor the situation, adding, "The government really needs to have its own independent ability to go down there and image the site, survey the site and do its own investigation. Because if you're not monitoring it independently, you're asking the perpetrator to give you the video of the crime scene."

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