WASHINGTON, May 29 – U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to triple the number of people involved in clean-up operations across areas along the Gulf of Mexico where oil from a massive spill washed ashore or approached the coast.
Obama arrived Friday in Louisiana to supervise the clean-up efforts involving some 20,000 people at present.
"The increase will allow us to further intensify this already historic response, contain and remove oil more quickly and help minimize the time that any oil comes into contact with our coastline," Obama said at the Coast Guard station in Grand Isle town.
The oil spill is "an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy and on communities like this one," he also said, noting "this isn't just a mess that we've gotta mop up – people are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach."
An explosion earlier ripped through the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform about 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the Louisiana coast, causing a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil continues to gush from the broken well into the sea despite a month of work to stop the leak.
According to estimates by specialists, the oil spill is affecting around 20 U.S. protected areas and threatens some 40 types of marine mammals.
On Friday, Obama reiterated the British petroleum company operating the stricken rig is responsible for the disaster.
Being the U.S. president, however, Obama noted he is "accountable" for tackling the disaster.
On Thursday, Obama said he's suspending plans for new oil drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico until investigation into the April 20 incident is concluded.
Russia and other countries already offered assistance in tackling consequences of the oil spill. (PNA/RIA Novosti) scs/CJT/rsm