Tar balls continue to invade FL beaches

(NBC) - To the untrained eye, it may still look like the cap is doing nothing as black oil continues to billow, but officials insist there is crude being siphoned to the surface.

"At the moment it is difficult to say but we would expect it to be the majority, probably the vast majority of the oil," said BP CEO Anthony Hayward.

To that claim there are skeptics, even U.S. incident commander Thad Allen admitted it is certainly not enough.

"This will be well into the fall," he said. "This is a siege across the entire gulf. This spill is holding everybody hostage."

Along Florida beaches they are fighting back where they can, despite warnings to leave the tar balls alone.

"Right now I'm picking up sea shells and doing what I'm not supposed to do, I'm supposed to leave it to the experts," said Pensacola resident Teresa West. "Do you see any experts out here?"

Clean-up crews were few and far between as dots of oil continued to float in past the swimmers, and hotels now have cleaner out next to the hoses, so beach goers can wash off the sticky oil.

While officials insist these waters are still safe, long time residents like Cindy Hatcher know they may never be the same.

"It's more devastating than any hurricanes or natural disaster could be," she commented. "My heart is broken... broken."

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