Shown in a file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig's four-story-tall blowout preventer, which has so far failed to live up to its name, currently sits atop the problem well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
The preventer, essentially a gargantuan valve, is designed to stop oil leaks by automatically closing an oil well's pipeline if crude begins surging out of control. Due to the Deepwater Horizon preventer's failure, oil continues to gush from three breaks in the rig's pipe—all of which are expected to be covered by the containment "domes."
Remotely operated vehicles will monitor the installation of the containment boxes and complete connections to the tubing that will funnel the oil up to the surface ship, the Deepwater Enterprise. The ship can process 630,000 gallons (2,390,000 liters) of oil a day, according to BP.
The oil company decided to go with the containment boxes after more than a week of failed attempts to activate the blowout preventer using remotely operated submersibles.
"This is the second stage of trying to deal with the fact that we have a lot of oil coming out right now," BP's Ashford said.
(Related blog post: "Who's Still Spilling Oil in the Seas?")