The US Government has issued a new six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after its earlier ban was rejected by the federal court.

To avoid additional legal challenges, the new drilling ban is based on the type of equipment being used and not solely on the depth of water it will operate in.

US Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said a pause on deepwater drilling is essential and appropriate to protect communities, coasts and wildlife from the risks posed by current deepwater drilling.

It is more than 80 days since the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig sunk at the Macondo well, causing the US’s largest environmental disaster.

The revised moratorium allows for drilling in shallow waters if companies meet new safety and environmental rules.

It does not affect existing deepwater offshore platforms producing oil and gas.