Giant skimmer 'A Whale' tested at BP oil spill site
Published: 4th Jul 2010 16:19:09
A giant tanker refitted to scoop up spilled oil is being tested at the site of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak.
The Taiwanese vessel - called "A Whale" - is designed to vacuum up oily water, separate the oil and return the water to the sea.
It is undergoing two days of testing before starting work, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.
Much smaller skimming vessels have been working off Louisiana, but they have been affected by rough seas.
Oil has been gushing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico since 22 April, when BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank.
Crude oil has been leaking at a rate of between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day, according to US scientists.
Two containment ships capturing about 25,000 barrels of oil per day are now in place, and there are plans to double this by connecting a new vessel, the Helix Producer.
But these plans have been delayed by tropical storm Alex, which brought high seas and strong winds to the region.
Testing of the giant skimmer vessel - which its owners say can process 21 million gallons of oily water per day - began on Saturday.
The 275m (300-yard) tanker takes in oily water through 12 vents.
In a series of tanks, the oil is separated for transfer to another vessel, while the clean water is returned to the sea.
"In many ways, the ship collects water like an actual whale and pumps internally like a human heart," Bob Grantham, a spokesman for TMT Shipping, told the Associated Press news agency.
"A Whale" is currently operating north of the wellhead area and results from the testing are expected on Monday.
If successful, the vessel could provide a boost to clean-up efforts.
Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing the response to the spill, also said that he hoped to have the Helix Producer containment vessel in place by Wednesday, AFP news agency reported.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Giant skimmer 'A Whale' tested at BP oil spill site [Online] (Updated 4th Jul 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/72460/Giant-skimmer-A-Whale-tested-at-BP-oil-spill-site [Accessed 30th Aug 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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