Thick oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico has breached the fragile marshlands of Louisiana and appears to have been picked up by a powerful current that could carry the crude as far as Florida and Cuba. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor, witnessed the first signs of devastation on the mainland as thick globs of oil clung to plants in an area known for its biodiversity and delicate ecosystem. "This wasn't tar balls. This wasn't sheen," he said. "The oil is here and the time to act is now." While the physical effect of oil reaching land was surveyed on the Gulf Coast, scientists discovered satellite images that suggested the slick could spread much further up the coast. The images show a small amount of oil entering an ocean flow known as the Loop Current. If a large quantity of crude is picked up by the flow it could reach the tourist beaches and fragile coral reefs of Florida within six days before moving on into the Gulf Stream. On the way to the Sunshine State, the slick would be carried close to the coast of Cuba. The threat has prompting rare bilateral talks between the two countries who have no formal diplomatic relations. Nearly a month after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and killed 11 workers, three leaks continue to spew crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The extent of those leaks is the subject of fierce debate between the British oil company, the US Government and a host of independent scientists who have viewed footage of the oil rushing into the ocean. BP and the Coast Guard have said about 210,000 gallons of oil a day is gushing from the well, but experts who have watched underwater video showing the leak say they believe the amount could be almost 20 times that. Steve Wereley, a mechanical engineer at Purdue University in Indiana, said he estimated that 3.9 million gallons was pouring from the leaks. He told a Senate hearing on Wednesday: "I don't see any scenario where (BP's) numbers would be accurate." Larry Schweiger, the president of the National Wildlife Federation, told the hearing that BP had failed to disclose the results from its tests of chemical dispersants. He also accused the company of trying to withhold video showing the true magnitude of the leak. "The federal government should immediately take over all environmental monitoring, testing and public safety protection from BP," he said. "The Gulf of Mexico is a crime scene and the perpetrator cannot be left in charge of assessing the damage." Biologists in Louisiana said that damage appeared to include an endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle found covered in heavy oil. Shiny tar balls were also spotted in thickets of reeds where crabs could be seen tainted orange by the crude. In some areas, a thick blanket of oil hung at the bottom of the marsh. South of Venice, the seaport where BP has established its response headquarters, oil was seeping at an ever rapid rate into the marshes.