US military joins Gulf of Mexico oil spill effort
The US military has joined efforts to stop an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as fears rise about its scale.
Five times as much oil as previously thought could be leaking from the well beneath where a rig exploded and sank last week, the US Coast Guard says.
Rear Admiral Mary Landry said 5,000 barrels a day were thought to be gushing into the sea off Louisiana.
The Department of Homeland Security has designated the spill as one of "national significance".
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is to go to Louisiana to oversee operations, told reporters in Washington that this designation would allow resources to be ordered in from other areas of the US.
At the same briefing, a coastguard official said the oil slick was expected to wash ashore on the Gulf Coast on Friday.
And Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior David Hayes said the US government had ordered inspections of all deep-water oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico to see if anti-spill regulations were being followed.
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