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'Super skimmer' a giant bust in Gulf cleanup

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IDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 06:34 PM
Original message
'Super skimmer' a giant bust in Gulf cleanup
Source: Reuters

'All we found in the tanks was water, so it was very ineffective,' official says

updated 1 hour 27 minutes ago

HOUSTON A Taiwanese-owned "super skimmer" ship sent to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has collected virtually no oil in two weeks of tests, a U.S. Coast Guard official said on Friday.

"All we found in the tanks was water, so it was very ineffective," Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Zunkunft, federal on-scene coordinator, told a news briefing.

The 1,100-foot "A Whale," an ore and oil carrier refitted for skimming, was sent by TMT Shipping Offshore to help clean up oil spewing since April 20 from BP's blown-out Macondo well.

The vessel arrived the first week of July in search of a contract with BP and began undergoing tests, which were hampered at first by bad weather. Conditions have since improved, and the tests have continued.

Read more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38283782/ns/disaster_in_the... /
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. This being the machine that a lot of people were jumping up and down about
1. because we hadn't put it right to work

2. we had to import it instead of building it here?
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Yep.
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Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-10 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
25. Way back when the leak first happened
a scientist or some one who knew about the leak was on Rachel Maddow's show and said that this skimmer would not work. She said it was too big to be used in the Gulf and would not be able to skim off the oil. The republicans were screaming to use it because it had been used in the North Sea. Looks like this woman was correct. It is too big.
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Arctic Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. I wonder how much of the problem was because of the dispersants
being used and keeping it below surface?
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Good question. On the other hand, my impression is that there is
still plenty of oil on the surface as well.
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eowyn_of_rohan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. my thought exactly...
dispersant causing it to form zillions of small particles - frikkin BP. Good way to cover up how much oil is gushing out...
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another saigon Donating Member (450 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. exactly
and of course our so called news will not touch that question.
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juajen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-10 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
23. Yes, they have. I heard that explanation on Anderson Cooper's show
and I believe Rachael Maddow.
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Autumn Colors Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. So it collected water & dumped oil back into the Gulf??? (nt)
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BlueIdaho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. I wonder how Costiner's system is working. nt.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. so, no one bothered to test this thing before bringing it half-way-round the world?
Nice. Incompetence is the new normal. :puke:
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Bobby Jindal approved it sight-unseen.
It could always be filled with sand and sunk as an oil break.
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bluedigger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Where would you test something like that other than the first big spill of opportunity?
I can't see purposely releasing oil into the ocean to "see what it'll do". It just didn't work.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. There certainly would have been ways to test the technology
that may or may not have included live tests.
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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. Well, I guess they could have purposely overturned an oil tanker or something to test it elsewhere
..... or they could bring it here where the oil was already spilled. :eyes:

FYI, part of the reason they brought it here was to test it out.
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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. Proof of the "Peter Principle." When all positions are filled by incompetents.
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pinboy3niner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
10. There's a Super Skinner bust?
Uh-oh. That's really gonna go to his head. What's that? It's a super SKIMMER? Well, that's very different. Nevermind.

(Apologies to Emily Litella and Gilda Radner, RIP.) :evilgrin:
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
15. I just looked at that...there's no way it can work
The problem is bow wake. Look at this picture:



The white V coming off the front of the boat is the bow wake; note it is being pushed away from the ship. Now, imagine you've got oil in the water, and vents just behind the area of bow wake. None of that oil is going to go into the vents; it will be pushed away from them by the natural motion of the ship.

If they would have put the intake right into the very front of the bow, so the oil would go straight in, this should work fine with or without dispersant. But since they designed it so the oil will never reach the vents, they're screwed.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
17. "Wait wait wait wait wait..."
"You want to keep the OIL in the tanks and expell the WATER back into the ocean? Really? And you don't think that's a bit back-asswards? Well, okay, I think we can rework the equipment but it's going to take a while."
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
18. Not clear if its a fundemental flaw or if its correctable
Oil skimmers are not all that sophisticated. For it not to be working at some level seems very odd.
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Merchant Marine Donating Member (650 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 03:51 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. The problem is that this is a jury-rigged vessel
All they did was cut slots in the bow and put centrifuges and piping in the cargo spaces. To get oily water to enter those slots, you have to control your trim very carefully, which is difficult to do on ships of that size because the torque of the propeller naturally pulls the stern down.

This ship was originally an OBO, or Oil Bulk Ore Carrier that has bulk ore holds along the centerline and crude/product tanks along the sides.
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 05:58 AM
Response to Original message
20. If they hadn't dispersed the oil, it might have worked.
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onestepforward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 06:37 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. The owner thinks so too.
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/...

The oil is too dispersed to take advantage of the converted Taiwanese supertanker's enormous capacity, said Bob Grantham, a spokesman for shipowner TMT.

He said BP's use of chemical dispersants prevented A Whale, billed as the world's largest skimmer, from collecting a "significant amount" of oil during a week of testing that ended Friday.

"When dispersants are used in high volume virtually from the point that oil leaves the well, it presents real challenges for high-volume skimming," Grantham said in a written statement that did not include oil-collection figures from the test.

-snip-


It makes sense to me. I'm sure it's at least a factor.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
22. They're saying it would have worked if they'd used it BEFORE the Corexit. n/t
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-10 03:33 AM
Response to Original message
24. Golly Gee, you mean oil mixed with millions of gallons of dispersant
could not be skimmed up efficiently?

Well how about that? Then what exactly was the benefit of those millions of gallons of Corexit dispersant that BP forced into the gushing oil?

I think BP just wanted to disperse the oil for PR. And to make their liability harder to measure.

And meanwhile that makes it tough for our best skimming technologies to collect the oil as they were designed to do.

BP recklessly endangered their workers and our coastal ecosystems in order to save about one-tenth of one quarter's profits.

They do not deserve to administer the clean up. They have managed it mostly with PR in mind. And reducing or at least obscuring their liability.

So now here we have some great technology roaring up to help us and we can't use it because BP dispersed most of the oil with toxic Corexit.
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