Navy blimp arrives in New Orleans for Gulf duty - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Navy blimp arrives in New Orleans for Gulf duty

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A blimp that will fly over the Gulf of Mexico so observers can spot oil slicks and ailing wildlife has arrived in the region.

After being delayed by bad weather, the 178-foot long airship landed Thursday in New Orleans, where it will be based for the next several days.

Coast Guard Cmdr. Howard Wright says the blimp is better suited for observation than a helicopter or plane, because it can move slowly over the sea at low elevations for up to 12 hours at a stretch.

It is owned by the Navy but operated by a private company, Maryland-based Integrated Systems Solutions Inc.

Company spokesman Bradley Campbell says it can operate at night using thermal imaging, but it's unclear if it will be used that way for the Gulf spill.

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