Did the BP Disaster Kill This Whale?

Media release - October 24, 2012
Greenpeace Uncovers Disturbing Images of Dead Sperm Whale in Gulf Government Documentation Raises Questions About BP Accountability in Advance of Settlement

CONTACT: Travis Nichols, 206 802 8498,

WASHINGTON, DC - Greenpeace today released photos and emails from U.S. government offices that raise serious questions about how the government has handled whales and other endangered Gulf species affected by the 2010 BP disaster.  The documents, received in late September via a Freedom of Information request filed in August 2010, show graphic photos of a dead sperm whale whose skin has been burnt black, as well as evidence of government officials removing references to the ongoing BP oil disaster in their public documentation of the finding.

The photos were presumably taken by government  researchers on the NOAA research vessel Pisces, who found the dead whale floating about 77 miles from the site of the Deepwater Horizon on June 15, 2010.  The civil trial that would assign damages for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst marine oil accident in US history, is rumored to be near a settlement.

“Before the disaster, this area of the gulf had one of the largest and healthiest populations of sperm whales in the world according to biologists,” Greenpeace Research Director Kert Davies said.  “These photos of a dead young whale remind us that we still don’t know the full ecological story of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster.  

“The problem remains that we don’t know exactly what BP and the government scientists saw, what they documented, and how they kept their records.  The systemic clamp down on information and consistent lack of transparency and images such as these continue to remind us to demand full accountability from the oil companies and the government, especially with the looming  legal settlement between the company and the government.”

In May, Greenpeace published 300 new government aerial photographs received via FOIA, as well as additional gulf disaster photos of oil-covered sea turtles, whales, and dolphins.

Photos can be seen here.

To view the government documents or to set up an interview with Kert Davies or Claudette Juska, please contact Travis Nichols at 206.802.8498,

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