Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth The Military Politics

Ban On Photographing Near Gulf Oil Booms 435

Posted by kdawson
from the oiled-seabirds-are-camera-shy dept.
boombaard writes "The day before yesterday CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that, from now on, there is a new rule in effect, which de facto bars photographers from coming within 65 feet of any deployed boom or response vessel around Deepwater Horizon (official announcement). The rule, announced by the US Coast Guard, forbids 'photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches. In order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans,' while 'violators could face a fine of $40,000 and Class D felony charges. What's even more extraordinary is that the Coast Guard tried to make the exclusion zone 300 feet, before scaling it back to 65 feet.'" Read below for the Coast Guard's statement on the new rule.
"The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans has delegated authority to the Coast Guard Incident Commander in Houma to allow access to the safety zones placed around all Deepwater Horizon booming operations in Southeast Louisiana. The Coast Guard Incident Commander will ensure the safety of the members and equipment of the response before access is granted. The safety zone has been put in place to prevent vandalism to boom and to protect the members and equipment of the response effort by limiting access to, and through, deployed protective boom."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ban On Photographing Near Gulf Oil Booms

Comments Filter:
  • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:58PM (#32806234)
    how exactly is this a ban? 65 feet seems a more than reasonable safety barrier and what photographer is going to say "shit, 65 feet, better leave as can't take photos at that range".
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Chih (1284150)
      That's what I was thinking, 65 feet away is close enough to be in the mess but far enough away to be out of the cleanup zone. Photographers will still get their pics
      • Re:huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:42AM (#32809266) Journal

        Well as CNN explained in the video, the boom is laying everywhere so the 65 foot distance effectively blocks cameramen from capturing images of the oil-soaked islands/reefs along the cost, or the oil-soaked birds struggling to survive. In other words, it prevents the people of the US, from seeing the damage that has been caused.

        And we deserve to know because it's OUR country, not BP's country or the government's country. That's the whole purpose for freedom of the press - so the people will stay informed rather than remain in the dark. "The liberties of a people never were nor ever will be secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry, Virginian

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Binestar (28861)
          65 feet horizontal and infinity above? Just take a helicopter out if cnn is all worried about this. They do it for traffic, they damn well can do it for the oil soaked birds.
          • Re:huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:23AM (#32809734) Homepage

            Or, maybe, be a pro and do what you should have from the beginning - ASK THE COAST GUARD FOR PERMISSION BEFORE POTENTIALLY INTERFERING WITH A CRITICAL OPERATION.

            Now if the CG consistently denies permission to everyone, including seasoned pros with lots of credentials (think Joe McNally, Dave Hobby, or people of that caliber), then it's a story. If they deny requests from 95% of "photographers", half of whom are from the "mom picked up an SLR and now she's starting a photography business with it despite no knowledge of shutter speed and aperture", I'm still all for it.

    • Re:huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:08AM (#32806316)
      Obviously the Coast Guard, on the payroll of Big Oil, is trying to engage in a massive cover-up so no one can find out about this alleged "Oil Spill."
    • or Daily Kos, or any other news outlet that isn't owned by Rupert Murdoch: This is being used to hassle anyone coming near the site, 65 ft or not.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160)

        This is being used to hassle anyone coming near the site, 65 ft or not.

        Perhaps you could give reputable examples so we could decide for ourselves. For the record, I consider Fox news a remarkably poor news site even by US standards and I consider Daily Kos below Fox News in terms of integrity and reliability.

      • by Lord Kano (13027)

        This is being used to hassle anyone coming near the site, 65 ft or not.

        Is there video of this alleged hassling? I'll bet it's some asshole saying something to the effect of "Look, I'm 65 1/2 feet away so leave me alone!".

        LK

      • by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:53AM (#32806642) Journal

        or Daily Kos, or any other news outlet that isn't owned by Rupert Murdoch

        Daily Kos is not a "news outlet". It's a partisan blog.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by eyrieowl (881195)

          Well, while I don't disagree, I think the popular usage of "news" has long since ceased to mean "objective discovery and reporting of facts and implications of those facts". Instead, "news" has become segmented by demographic. You have news for the liberal, news for the conservative, news for the dumb, news for the elitist, news for the nerds.... I pine for a day when it was considered embarrassing for a news organization to not be making a serious and overt attempt at objectivity (and yes, of course it

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by IICV (652597)

            Well, while I don't disagree, I think the popular usage of "news" has long since ceased to mean "objective discovery and reporting of facts and implications of those facts".

            You know, "news" never actually meant that. That's just a marketing angle television news came up with in order to appeal to the broadest market; actual journalists have rarely if ever been objective.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Reziac (43301) *

              While that's true, they used to be a lot more objective, not to mention more literate, than they are now. Newspaper journalism was the last to slide but it's followed TV and internet into the wholly partisan, shiny-bytes toilet.

        • by Capsaicin (412918) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:11AM (#32806796)

          Daily Kos is not a "news outlet". It's a partisan blog.

          Well it started out that way, but clearly it has risen in stature to the point where it can now be compared to FoxNews in terms of reliability and integrity!

          • by Rophuine (946411)

            Daily Kos is not a "news outlet". It's a partisan blog.

            Well it started out that way, but clearly it has fallen in stature to the point where it can now be compared to FoxNews in terms of reliability and integrity!

            FTFY.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Meanwhile, what's the crime actually committed? None. So classifying this as a felony would easily not hold constitutional muster, and I bet the ACLU will get involved. This is clearly to prevent interviews.

      I think this is the issue. Not a matter of the 65 feet being reasonable or not. That's not focusing on reality.

      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bloodhawk (813939) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:41AM (#32806568)
        like it or not, safety is a reasonable thing to expect for workers, or to infact DEMAND for workers. 65 feet is close enough to not impose any harsh restriction while allowing workers to do there job.

        secondly why the hell should workers be being interviewed, they are supposed to be cleaning up the mess not standing around yapping to the press.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by photogchris (1847394)
          I seriously have to question if you know what a felony is. A felon can lose their 2nd amendment rights, the right to vote or serve on a jury, be banned from working as a lawyer, teacher or a career in the military and with the 3 strike laws can face life in prison.
          I have no problem with a 65' boundary, nothing a 300mm lens can't handle. But this should be no more then a misdemeanor.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ultranova (717540)

            I seriously have to question if you know what a felony is. A felon can lose their 2nd amendment rights, the right to vote or serve on a jury, be banned from working as a lawyer, teacher or a career in the military and with the 3 strike laws can face life in prison.

            This rises some questions about the wisdom of the whole concept of a felon, specifically the "no voting" part. It seems a very convenient way of ensuring that only people who think and act like those in power are allowed to have political influen

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by poetmatt (793785)

          again, you're focusing on the distance being a factor for safety - that has nothing to do with it. Really, it doesn't. Take that part of the concept out of your brain for a moment.

          Now look at what's left - a felony for being too close to something?

          Have you never seen news reporting on a crime near where it's occurring? You know, like interviews during military deployments? This has nothing to do with safety.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        Reckless Endangerment maybe? (don't know not really any sort of law expert) but putting the lives of the cleanup crew at risk, I believe that can be prosecuted as a felony and would seem to fit nicely with the breaching of imposed safety regulations.
        • by poetmatt (793785)

          reckless endangerment and any kind of actual criminal charges require proof. Especially a felony.

          At sea, yes, reckless endangerment is probably easier proven.

          However, on the beach?

  • by MDMurphy (208495) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:00AM (#32806240)

    What a crappy title. 65 feet ( 20m ) doesn't bar photography "near" a boom, it keeps idiots from bumping up against it. Unless photographers are using 1970 Instamatics, this should provide no obstacle to any serious photographer.

    • by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:47AM (#32806604) Homepage Journal

      Bumping against, hell I think they're mostly worried about photographers who have never been out in a boat before, piloting a zodiac [wikipedia.org] and parking it right in front of a moving fishing boat who is deploying said booms, unaware that fishingboats aren't particularly fast, nor do they have breaks. Q.E.D.:
       
      Idiot photographer parks zodiac in front of fishing boat
      Fishing boat runs over zodiac
      Coastguard has to send out a ship to take care of idiot photographer, further stressing the thinly spread coastguard
      BP profits (somehow)

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:47AM (#32807026)

      What a crappy title. 65 feet ( 20m ) doesn't bar photography "near" a boom, it keeps idiots from bumping up against it. Unless photographers are using 1970 Instamatics, this should provide no obstacle to any serious photographer.

      I beg to differ, I had planned to do a series of night shots of booms with a Holga and an LED flashlight. I insight my "right" to engage in dangerous night missions that may lead to equipment damage be respected!

      Hey, some serious photographers use Holgas...

  • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation @ g m ail.com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:03AM (#32806260) Journal

    From the submitter's own link of the official announcement:

    NEW ORLEANS - The Captains of the Port for Morgan City, La., New Orleans, La., and Mobile, Ala. , under the authority of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, has established a 20- meter safety zone surrounding all Deepwater Horizon booming operations and oil response efforts taking place in Southeast Louisiana.

    Vessels must not come within 20 meters of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations under penalty of law.

    The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom.

    In areas where vessels operators cannot avoid the 20-meter rule, they are required to be cautious of boom and boom operations by transiting at a safe speed and distance.

    Violation of a safety zone can result in up to a $40,000 civil penalty. Willful violations may result in a class D felony.

    Permission to enter any safety zone must be granted by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans by calling 504-846-5923.

    For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.

    There's no mention of photography, camera, or anything of that nature. If you get your vessel within 20m of a protective boom, you're a total moron regardless of whether or not you happen to have a camera.

  • by jaroslav (467876) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:04AM (#32806274)
    The reports of journalists being more unofficially banned from beaches where BP contractors are "cleaning" up the oil or from flying over [faa.gov] the affected areas of the gulf.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:11AM (#32806330)

      Flying over? I assume you actually mean flying over below 3000 feet as your link describes. It would be an air traffic control nightmare with the vehicles involved in the cleanup. You can fly over all you like at 3100 feet.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        You should tell him that he's not allowed to fly under 500 feet anyway anywhere under any circumstances unless taking off or landing - that should really get the conspiracy going...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tweak13 (1171627)

          You should tell him that he's not allowed to fly under 500 feet anyway anywhere under any circumstances

          That's completely incorrect.

          FAR 91.119c states - [No person my operate an aircraft below] an altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

          Basically you can fly 10 feet off the surface if you want to, just don't get near an oil rig or a boat. Same thing goes for land, just stay away from houses and cars.

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:25AM (#32806448)

      Did you read the link you posted?

      "All pilots operating within and near this area including the shoreline should exercise extreme caution due to the numerous low level operations associated with the deepwater horizon/mc-252 incident 3000 feet and below.

      Aircraft involved in these operations may make sudden changes in direction, speed, and altitude. For additional information, participating aircraft altitude assignments and awareness, all pilots are recommended to review the following web site dedicated to the aviation cleanup efforts at: https://1afnorth.region1.ang.af.mil/deepwater_spill/default.Aspx [af.mil]

      With the exception of aircraft conducting aerial chemical dispersing operations;no fixed wing aircraft are authorized below 1000 feet above the surface unless for landing and takeoff"

      The FAA rules are to keep collisions from happening.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The flight restrictions strike me as similar to the main article's complaints - they can be construed as impeding freedom of the press, but really are for safety of the responders and planes. If a boat wake poses a threat, so would the the airstream of a low flying plane. For further restrictions, the simple observation that air traffic at moderately low altitude is probably much higher/less linear than normal means that controlling more aircraft interferes with the cleanup effort. I have no qualms with

  • by Rophuine (946411) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:05AM (#32806282) Homepage

    That's odd, none of the official documents say anything about photographers. The poster even fits in a quote mentioning photographers explicitly, and words it so that if you're not paying attention it implies that it's an official quote. This is sensationalist journalism at its best. Why are photographers trying to get that close anyway? With my consumer-grade camera I can take a close-up portrait of someone from rather further away than that.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • Come on Google Maps (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kitkoan (1719118) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:06AM (#32806296)
    This would be a great time to start updating those satellite photos of the gulf
  • by 1984 (56406) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:07AM (#32806300)

    I'm a hobbyist photographer and videographer, and I've been hassled for ID before when shooting in a public place. I read plenty of stories about photographers being harassed improperly, and reading the article I don't think this is one of them. They started at 300ft, which was silly, and scaled it back to 65ft when called on it. Leaving aside the who and why, 65 feet doesn't make this stuff hard to photograph. Even with a 200mm lens on a digital SLR (especially crop sensor) you can get very serviceable shots of "what's going on" at 65ft. Professional press photographers on assignment usually have a healthier complement of lenses than that, before considering telconverters, cropping in on the subject and so on.

    If the story is something highly specific to do with equipment and handling of it then perhaps you need an even bigger lens or to be closer to the subject. But if you're taking shots of how they're laying out booms, who's involved and so on, 65ft isn't a big deal at all. Seems like a not unreasonable tradeoff to keep people from getting under the workers' feet. The subjective standard I'm applying here is does the restriction make it likely we'll not find out something that the public interest demands should be disclosed? No, it really doesn't.

  • oh lord (Score:2, Insightful)

    Really? This is a /. worthy story?

    Starting to be ashamed to be a member. What happened to tech stories and stuff?

    • by jDeepbeep (913892)
      Insert obligatory reply here about how to turn off 'politics' in his/her account settings.
  • But this is a common sense distance.

    65 feet (20 meters) is an entirely reasonable safety margin for this situation. A good current could push you 20 meters faster than you can respond, causing you to crash into the equipment (that would be Bad [TM]).

    Any photographer (professional or dilettante) who can't capture a picture of this equipment from that distance is an utterly hopeless moron. All the more reason for not allowing them even closer.

  • They have telephoto lenses. They can get perfectly usable pictures from beyond 65 feet. It seems perfectly reasonable to keep people away while cleanup personnel are trying to do their jobs.

    LK

  • 20m, not 65 feet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dingram17 (839714) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:41AM (#32806572) Homepage
    The official announcement was that the exclusion area was 20 metres, not 65 feet. I would have thought that most people reading Slashdot would be able to do the conversion -- if not, go ask a six year old how to do it. Good too see that the US forces are starting to think metric.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The US military has been doing things in metric for decades; it's taking the press a while to catch up. My favorite was when I read a story in which a soldier was talking about something being "about ten clicks [sic] down the road" and the reporter helpfully explained that "a 'click' is military slang for about three-fifths of a mile." No, klick is military slang for a kilometer, which is a unit of measurement well understood by anyone with more than half a brain, and which does happen to be about three-f

  • The title of this article is an absolute embarrassment. This is beyond inaccurate, it's inflammatory. Photography is not banned. A reasonable safety margin has been set around the response equipment and boats - and it's about fucking time. Scuba divers and other special activities are routinely given a 75 foot (more or less) safety margin, and it seems absolutely reasonable to make everyone stay clear while these people are trying to work. Frankly, 300 feet would have been completely reasonable. It's bad enough this "news" is already ancient (par for the course on /. lately), but now we have to deal with mind-boggling bias... is this /. or Greenpeace?

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • Professional photographer had access to more powerful lenses than what's on an iPhone.
    I can only imagine this being the end of photo-journalism as we know it.
    Flickr is as good as dead

  • I mean, seriously - 65 feet? You think that will stop somebody from taking a picture? That's bloody trivial, even with cheep lenses.
    Even their original plans for a 300 foot ban would just mean the photographers would need to bring a different lens.

  • Terrible summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JamesRing (1789222) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:54AM (#32807078)
    Where the hell is the editorial review? The title and summary of the slashdot article have nothing to do with the linked article. Do you people not read the linked articles? What a waste of time.
  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:27AM (#32808720)
    ...is to file for copyright on millions of images and thousands of hours of video of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. Followed shortly by hundreds of lawsuits against news agencies for copyright infringement.
  • lol (Score:4, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:41AM (#32808802)
    No ones figured out why this is a problem yet? I'll spell it out for you... The majority of the damage being done is to small barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. Those islands are completely wrapped in boom. If you can not come within 65 feet of the boom and the boom completely wraps the island, you can't go to the island at all.
  • This is a story? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rgviza (1303161) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:24AM (#32809740)

    Three words:
    Safety
    Zoom Lens

    This isn't surprising at all. All it takes is some idiot to get his prop tangled in one of those, or an angry idiot to vandalize it, to make it even more useless. There are a ton of zoom lenses capable of spanning 65 feet to get a picture.

    Climb up high on the boat, put a zoom and polarized filter on (to get through surface reflections on the water) and take the picture.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:33AM (#32809848) Journal

    From the actual release:

    The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom.

    FTFA at NewsBusters.org:

    I have put out a written directive -- and I can provide it for the record -- that says the media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're doing operations, except for two things, if it's a security or a safety problem. ...
    Well, it's not unusual at all for the Coast Guard to establish either safety or security zones around any number of facilities or activities for public safety or for the safety of the equipment itself. We would do this for marine events, fireworks demonstrations, cruise ships going in and out of port.

    This is not about reporters and photographers. This about preventing accidents. It sounds to me like Cooper and company are pissed that they are not getting special treatment and are required seek permission and access like everyone else.

    I notice that there was no mention of CNN or any other news organization applying for access to an area, let alone being denied access. Did they bother to apply, or did they just start whining that they had to follow some rules to help ensure the safety and security of everyone involved?

    Sounds to me like Cooper et al. are whining because some safety rules have been set up that inconvenience them instead of inconveniencing or endangering those who are actually doing the clean up and the equipment being used.

  • by rdmiller3 (29465) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:43PM (#32812858) Journal

    65 feet is only a couple of boat-lengths. That's pretty close. If I was working those booms, I'd be worried about any boat that close running over or afoul of the boom.

    So photographers are limited to 65ft. How close can other people get? Is that still 300ft? My guess is that reporters are belly-aching because they can't get close enough to dip a gloved hand into the oil and show it to the camera.

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.

Working...