An unexpected help in the form of “A Whale” finally arrived in Louisiana. A supertanker transformed into giant oil skimmer is being tested in the Gulf this Fourth of July weekend. Coast Guard officials are hopeful that the new effort will provide positive results in its cleanup operations.
Thad Allen, Coast Guard Admiral, said he had “high hopes” for the soil-skimming supertanker. Local Gulf officials have requested BP and the Coast Guard for more oil skimmers to clean up the oily water, before it reaches their coastlines. The giant oil skimmer could go a long way towards cleaning up the Gulf waters.
The supertanker owned by TMT, a Taiwan shipping company, named “A Whale” was planned and converted into an oil skimmer in Portugal with capability to skim about 300,000 barrels of oil in a full day.
“The boat, which swallows water with oil then separates it, can skim about 21 million gallons of oil a day. That’s at least 250 times the amount that modified fishing vessels currently conducting skimming operations have been able to contain, according to Taiwanese company TMT shipping, which owns the vessel.”
According to TMT spokesman, Bob Grantham, the oil skimmer actually works much like a giant whale.
“The skimmer works by “taking in oily water through a series of vents, or jaws, on the side of the ship and then decanting the intake,” said Grantham. “In many ways, the ship collects water like an actual whale and pumps internally like a human heart.”
The supertanker will continue to be deployed in the Gulf on Sunday an hopefully the positive results of the two-days of testing will be made available on Monday.