Signaling a shift in strategy to fight against BP's ruptured well in the Gulf, the Coast Guard is ramping up efforts to capture oil closer to shore.
Adm. Thad Allen said Friday an estimated 2,000 private boats in the so-called "vessels of opportunity" program will be more closely linked through a tighter command and control structure to direct them to locations less than 50 miles offshore to skim the oil.
Allen, the point man for the federal response to the spill, previously had said surface containment efforts would be concentrated much farther offshore.
Estimates of the oil being siphoned from the well a mile below the Gulf are growing. Allen said more than 1.2 million gallons was sucked up to containment vessels Thursday.