Update, 2 p.m. EDT: The Miami Herald reports that officials yesterday claimed the "loop current" has shifted to the west, meaning that oil may take even longer than expect to reach the Keys and, when it does, it will likely be in the form of tar balls. Either way, its presence is expected to have a negative impact on marine life there. We'll keep you updated.
(7:05 p.m. EDT) -- The flow of oil from the leak in the Gulf of Mexico -- which began on April 20 after an explosion sank oil rig Deepwater Horizon -- may reach the Florida Keys, but officials say there has been no impact in the area just yet, and cruises are still sailing their normal itineraries.
A statement issued by Carnival Cruise Lines, which has four ships -- Carnival Conquest, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Destiny -- due to call in Key West in the next week, says that the line does not anticipate any changes and will continue to operate as scheduled.
Royal Caribbean, whose Grandeur of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas are both due in Key West in the next week, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Wednesday, NOAA announced that a small portion of the oil slick had reached the loop current, meaning some of the oil may reach the Keys. However, the report also said that, by the time it arrives, the oil will likely have been very weathered by natural processes and, therefore, may pose less of a threat.
According to CNN, tar balls found Monday and Tuesday on Key West beaches are not a product of the current spill, and the Florida Keys Tourism Council says it does not foresee any immediate impacts.
We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor
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Update: Oil Spill -- Cruise Lines Say "No Impact" on Florida Keys Calls
May 23, 2010