My heart goes out to the people and wildlife along the US Gulf coast and the oil rig workers injured and missing and their families. This is a devastating tragedy.
I have a thought, not being an oil rig engineer, that I think might help:
Use oil spill clean-up barriers to isolate as much of the spill as possible. Send tankers to the area to pump the oil (and some water) into the holds of the tankers. Drain them from the bottom, where the water will pool to end up with mostly oil in the hold. Allow the owners of the tankers to take the oil away as a gift for their help in cleaning up the spill.
Sure this will take some innovation in the pumps and intake mechanisms but I don’t think it would be too difficult.
I also wonder if it might be possible to dump an underwater concrete mix over the site. The spilling oil will likely form one or more cavities where it will continue to flow. These could possibly be plugged with rocks, gravel, and more concrete.
Of course, it stands to reason that we also need to find out the cause of the accident as well as why the emergency shut-off failed. Measures will need to be taken to insure this NEVER happens again.
Obviously, anyone found to be responsible for causing this would also need to be held accountable.