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.
At 19:40:23 in SportGlamorgan's Michael Hogan says team-mate Jim Allenby is good enough to play for England.
At 18:39:29 in SportWorld number two Novak Djokovic says he will not play tennis "for some time" to let his injured wrist heal after losing to Roger Federer in Monte Carlo.
At 18:22:48 in HeadlinesThousands of Christian pilgrims have celebrated Easter's Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
At 18:03:23 in SportBoth sides finished with 10 men as Glentoran beat Belfast rivals Crusaders in an ill-tempered Premiership clash.
At 17:47:19 in SportWarrenpoint Town remain in the promotion/relegation play-off spot after Gareth Tommons struck a second-half winner for Coleraine at Milltown.
At 17:35:51 in SportLinfield boss David Jeffrey is refusing to throw in the towel despite dropping two vital points at home to Portadown.
At 17:32:04 in EnglandA 58-year-old Derbyshire woman has been arrested over an assault on a man at a drilling site in Nottinghamshire.
At 16:57:31 in SportCliftonville are odds-on to retain their Irish Premiership crown after hammering Glenavon 5-0 at Solitude.
At 16:55:28 in Northern IrelandThree men in their 20s have been arrested in connection with a hijacking in Newtownabbey, County Antrim.
At 16:54:35 in EnglandFive people including three children were pulled from a car moments before it burst into flames after a crash.
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 19th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Taxpayers' personal data could be shared with private firms under plans drawn up by Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Glamorgan's Michael Hogan says team-mate Jim Allenby is good enough to play for England.
Broadcaster STV has become the latest company to leave the CBI after the employers' body formally backed the campaign against Scottish independence.
Three men in their 20s have been arrested in connection with a hijacking in Newtownabbey, County Antrim.
Thousands of Christian pilgrims have celebrated Easter's Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.