Gulf condition worsens

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The developing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, in which about 5,000 barrels of crude oil gushes into the ocean every day, continues to worsen.

The growing slick has begun touching shore in some areas, and frantic efforts are being made to prevent, contain, and clean up the spill, including treating wildlife affected by the slick.

The massive oil spill is due to the collapse of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig, based some 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana.

The rig suffered an explosion and fire over a week ago, which caused the structure to eventually list and sink.

An oil pipe attached to a well under the sea floor ruptured, causing the 5,000 barrels (over 200,000 gallons) per day of black gold to spew forth. The emergency "blowout preventer," meant to cut off oil flow in the event of just this type of disaster, failed to work, meaning that there was nothing emergency crews could do to stop the flow of oil in the short term.

Strong wind and waves are helping to break down the slick itself, but they are also disrupting almost 80% of the thousands of feet of oil boom laid out along sensitive coastline and waterways, particularly in areas which have delicate wildlife that needs to be protected. Calmer seas later this week will allow the boom and surface vessels acting as oil skimmers to be more effective in prevention and cleanup efforts.

Here are several more major developments:

NOAA closed commercial and recreational fishing in a stretch of the Gulf from the Florida Panhandle to the mouth of the Mississippi.

Officials said the closure would last for at least 10 days and that government scientists were sampling for contamination.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that air monitoring from Saturday showed no presence of benzene, hydrogen sulfide or sulfur dioxide at any coastal station between Venice, La., and Pensacola.

The Port of Mobile remained open and continued to order vessels to come and go from the east.