James Cameron: Okay, BP Engineers Not Morons

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Jun 8, 2010  |  Updated 7:30 AM CDT
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Three-time Oscar winner James Cameron used unprecedented technology to interweave live action and CGI in Avatar. Cameron is nominated for the Best Director Golden Globe for the film.

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Hollywood king James Cameron, who knows a thing or two about the ocean depths, is backtracking since calling the engineers trying to clean up BP's oil spill "morons."

"Over the last few weeks I've watched as we all have with growing sort of horror and heartache watching what's happening in the Gulf and thinking, those morons don't know what they're doing," the acclaimed director of "Avatar," "Titanic and "The Abyss" groused after his offer to help plug the Gulf of Mexico leak was spurned.

But in an interview with Larry King, Cameron, who has used submarines and undersea robots extensively in his blockbuster movies as well as two documentaries about the Titanic, said he was wrong.

"The other shoe dropping on the story was, then I got into it and I talked to petroleum engineers and we started this study group ... They're not morons," Cameron said.

The oil spill began April 20 when the offshore rig "Deepwater Horizon" exploded in a fireball that killed 11 workers. Since then, it has leaked an estimated 50 million gallons, more than four times the amount of oil released by the 1989 Exxon Valdez wreck.

BP's initial efforts to stop the leak with a giant containment dome and by plugging the broken pipe with mud and garbage failed. But the inverted funnel with a tube leading up to a ship is collecting as much as two-thirds of the leaking oil, according the the company.

Meanwhile, BP is trying a longer-term approach, drilling diagonally through bedrock toward the pipeline, a method that could intercept the erupting oil but is more than a month away from fruition.

The growing oil slick has reached the shores of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi and is just nine miles from the coast of Florida, according to officials.

Cameron said he is skeptical of BP's numbers, which the company says are backed up by live footage of the spewing undersea well.

"If you're not monitoring it independently, you're asking the perpetrator to give you the video of the crime scene," Cameron said.

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