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Coast Guard commander: Oil spill like dealing with Apollo 13 crisis

Coast Guard Commander Thad Allen, who is heading up the federal response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, said Friday that there is no instruction manual to follow when dealing with this one-of-a-kind crisis. 

"Everything has gone according to plan. The problem is, this is not an according to plan spill,'' Allen said, after briefing Gov. Charlie Crist on the Coast Guard's repsonse. "...It kind of defies traditional oil spill response. Probably the most significant thing about it is, it's happening 5,000 feet down. We're captives to the tyranny of what I call distant depth and there is no human access to the site of the spill.

"All the information we have at the bottom of the ocean floor is from remotely-operated vehicles and remote sensing. I've been telling folks, this is more like Apollo 13 than the Exxon Valdez, except it's got an oil spill attached to it that is very very serious and we need to pay attention to it."