How do you plug a vast leak in an ocean basin? A giant iron funnel might do the trick. This is the latest solution to stop further spillage from BPs drilling well in the Gulf of Mexico.
It began on 20 April when offshore drilling company Transoceans semisubmersible rig was drilling a well for UK energy giant BP in 4,992 ft of water on the Gulf Coast off the US when an explosion occurred, leaving 11 workers missing and presumed dead.
The ensuing oil spill is now the size of Puerto Rico and has reached the shore in southern Louisiana. Latest reports say 200,000 gallons a day of oil are leaking and that the clean-up cost is estimated to be £5.2 billion (6 billion).
Now welders in Louisiana are building a 98 tonne dome-topped box to be ready on Wednesday 5 May and shipped to the site by the end of the week.
The 40ft (12m) funnel resembles a primitive space rocket with a hole on top to channel oil through a pipe from the sea floor to the surface where it can be collected on a barge.
It is being built at Golden Meadow, near Port Fourchon in southern Louisiana, by Wild Well Control, a company which specialises in controlling oil fires.
A team of 25 people is working around the clock on the funnel, the company says.
In theory, the system should collect 85% of the oil rising from the sea floor but BP has never deployed such a structure at a depth of 5,000ft.
The funnel will have to be tested before it can be shipped to the spill site.
BP has acknowledged it is responsible for cleaning up the spill after an explosion on a drilling rig. But it says it was not to blame for the accident which sank Deepwater Horizon. BP CEO Tony Hayward said the equipment that failed on 22 April belonged to Transocean, the owner of the rig.
Both companies are expecting lawsuits over the slick.