The situation in the Gulf is dire, and so far, there’s no end in sight. Anderson Cooper reports live from the region as BP continues to try to stop the leak. For the latest, watch “AC360°” tonight at 10 ET on CNN.

Venice, Louisiana (CNN) — On day 46 of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP, at last, began to siphon oil Friday from the ruptured undersea well to the surface, where it was flowing onto the awaiting drill ship Discover Enterprise.

As the recovery process started, BP said it would shut four vents on top of a containment cap from which oil was still escaping into the ocean. The company hoped that closing the vents would greatly reduce the amount of gushing crude.

But no one could say with any certainty whether BP’s latest effort to contain and recover the oil would succeed. U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government’s response manager, said estimates of how much oil is being captured or whether any leaks develop will be determined later Friday.

President Obama, who said he was “furious at this entire situation,” was heading back to Louisiana on Friday to get another firsthand look at the environmental damage and speak with political and business leaders.

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