A top Republican slammed BP CEO Tony Hayward for his "arrogance" for taking part in a yacht race as oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior GOP senator who serves as ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, sharply criticized Hayward for reportedly participating in a yacht race off the southern coast of England.

“That’s the height of arrogance," Shelby said during an appearance on Fox News. "He is the CEO OF B.P. and he testified in Washington before the Congressional Committee the other day.”

The Associated Press reported that Hayward, who stepped aside from his role on Friday of supervising of day-to-day cleanup efforts of the Gulf oil spill, took a break from his official duties to compete in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

“Now he’s gone over to be on his yacht over in England," Shelby said. "I can tell you that yacht ought to be here skimming and cleaning up a lot of the oil.”

Hayward's move drew quick rebuke on social networking sites and Twitter, where ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper also relayed criticism from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, as well.

"I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting," Emanuel said in an interview to air Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

"This has just been part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes," Emanuel added.

Shelby slammed Hayward for living in a "cocoon."

“He ought to be down here seeing what is really going on, no in a cocoon somewhere," the Alabama Republican said.