The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will deploy its research vessel Gordon Gunter to conduct studies on a plume near the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gordon Gunter, carrying 19 crew members and 16 scientists, will join six vessels already deployed in the region in an eight-day tour.

The 224ft-long ship will use sound waves to detect the plumes and new technology to collect water samples from depths of up to 5,000ft. The samples will be processed in laboratories on board the vessel.

Chief scientist Russell Brown said most of the information gathered in the mission will be transmitted to unified command as soon as it is received.