'A Whale' superskimmer out of Gulf oil spill response

    • 'A Whale' superskimmer out of Gulf oil spill response

      The Coast Guard seems to have rejected the superskimmer “A Whale” Friday, as the 1,100 foot-long converted iron ore freighter failed to make a sizeable dent in the Gulf oil spill during a 24-hour testing period.

      Brought to the Gulf by Taiwanese shipping magnate Nobu Su to help sop up the large amount of oil covering parts of the Gulf, the massive A Whale held a tantalizing promise for Americans frustrated by the slow pace of the spill clean-up. Under ideal conditions, the ship's owners said, the A Whale could gather more oil in a day than all the other skimmers on the Gulf combined.

      In reality, the A Whale gathered a "negligible" amount of oil over a 24-hour period while nearly 600 smaller skimmers sucked up 25,551 barrels of oily water and recovered 12,800 barrels near the source of the spill.

      My opinion is that even if the ship had enough capacity to do what they have said, the conditions for skimming are far from ideal. When the oil film can be think near the actual leak area, it will be rather thin in the rest of the gulf waters.

      Even if by using some technology, the thibk film areas are discovered and the vessel is mobilised to go there, the oil film might have becoms less considering the various forces of the seas and environment such as wind, waves and currents, by the time the vessel reaches the oil patch.