The U.S. Justice Department announced this week it has established a security zone around the wreckage and debris field of the Deepwater Horizon, which exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last April about 50 miles southeast of Venice. Vessels and aircraft are now patrolling the zone, which extends 750 feet in all directions out from the area. The purpose of cordoning off the area is to ensure that possible evidence in the feds’ criminal and civil investigations into the explosion remains intact.

A federal judge in New Orleans signed an order establishing the security zone on Oct. 8. The remains of the rig sit on the Gulf floor about a mile below the surface, and specialized equipment will likely be needed to gain access to the wreckage.

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