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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oil responders to media: Show us your papers

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 3:45 PM

By applying for and receiving a media credential, press now have direct access for as long as the Gulf oil disaster and response efforts continue — as long as you're on a boat. National Incident Commander Thad Allen lifted the media ban that restricted the public 20 meters from boom and oil response. Gambit received its credentials this morning within minutes of an application. The credentials are written in Word documents and provide the following:

The US Coast Guard and Joint Information Center have approved your Media Vessel Credential. You are authorized to travel within the 20m boom safety zone for media activities. Please be aware that the area is an operational area and there may be many boats engaged in oil spill recovery activities. This e-mail is the official media credential. There is no need to apply again as this credential is valid for the duration of the response.

Please follow the guidelines listed below.

? All vessels traveling into a safety zone must have a media vessel credential. Carry this authorization letter with you while onboard and underway.

? Media must also carry their official media credential.

? Vessel operator must obey all federal, state and local navigation rules and regulations.

? Vessel should maintain a safe distance from anchored boom, but may be within the established 20m safety zone for media activities if it is hazard-free.

? Vessel speed must not create wake near booms, vessels servicing booms, decontaminating vessels or other boats actively engaged in oil recovery operations.

? Vessel may not make contact with or cross a deployed boom, as this will damage the boom and may result in damage to your boat.

? Vessel must have onboard all federal, state, and locally required safety equipment. Safety equipment must be in proper working condition and USCG approved.

? Before leaving the dock, all vessels should be advised of weather conditions and know the effect wind, current and tide will have on the boat’s movement.

This authorization is effective immediately.

Notice the "vessel" is approved; if you're on the water, you can get up close to booming. What about traveling by foot or car? What about beaches, where security details limit access, or outside BP offices or refineries, where security and local law enforcement chase off reporters?

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