“A Whale” – World’s Largest Oil Skimmer Waiting on EPA and Coast Guard Approval

A Whale - Slots along sides are skimmer suctions

Update:  According to her AIS (Automatic Identification System) the A Whale is now off Louisiana.  Thanks to Buck for pointing it out. Click here to see per position on the chart.

A Taiwanese-owned, Liberian-flagged tanker,  the A Whale, has been modified for skimming up to 500,000 barrels of oil-contaminated water a day.   To put this in context, if the system works as intended, it could skim in less than two days an amount of oil equal to all the oil skimmed in the past 70 days of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon spill.   The A Whale is designed to operate offshore where most skimmers have difficulty operating.   It is currently in Norfolk, VA awaiting approval of separate waivers from the Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow it to begin testing.    Because the A Whale would be operating well offshore it is not believed to require a Jones Act Waiver.

Giant oil skimmer makes stop in Norfolk on way to Gulf oil cleanup

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13 Responses to “A Whale” – World’s Largest Oil Skimmer Waiting on EPA and Coast Guard Approval

  1. Pingback: Miles of Oil and No Government Action in Sight!

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  3. Lets not get too carried away with this. The vessel is very large for skimming and the oil is in long rodes not particularly connected to each other. Then there is the ability to manoeuver the ship in relatively confined waters. The oil is now close to shore where the current skimming vessels can and must work. This is not to say she does not have a use, if she ever does get that chance.
    Good Watch.

  4. Rick says:

    I agree that this converted tanker will not do magic. Your point about oil dispersal offshore is right on target. On the other hand, this is the first skimmer designed to operate well offshore where most skimmers cannot. Whether it works at all remains to be seen. It will be interesting to watch.

  5. Pingback: Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » US finally accepts assistance on Gulf oil spill

  6. Larry says:

    MAYBE MAGIC – Yes the A WHALE is large, but my concern is that those slits are not very large. However, if two smaller ships assisted by pulling booms ahead of the A WHALE, connected on the port and starboard sides just behind the aft most slits, it could skim and funnel a swath as large as quarter mile wider that the alreay 200 foot beam – perhaps even more.

  7. Buck says:

    AIS says she’s off the Louisiana coast 30 Jun 2010 0800EDT http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?MMSI=636014465

  8. Rick says:

    Thanks Buck, I hadn’t caught that.

  9. Buck says:

    ‘Maritime’ news that comes off the wire is usually iffy. That’s why we need people like you to help pick out the news that’s really news!

    Thanks for the blog and all the work you do for us!

  10. BUCK: Indeed Rick does a great Blog which I read at least once a day. However my AIS did not show SS A WHALE and the search said no records. Wonder just what IS going on, please keep tracking if you can. Thanks and

    Good Watch.

  11. Rick says:

    Thank both you gentlemen for the kind words.

    Marinetraffic.com and Vesseltracker.com are both now showing her heading for the LOOP. I had trouble finding her by name so I shifted to her IMO ID: 9424209

  12. justmeint says:

    A Taiwanese-flagged vessel, named “A Whale,” which is 3 1/2 football fields long and looms 10 stories high – outfitted with 12 vents on either side of its bow, which experts hope will be able to suck up as many as 21 million gallons of oil-tainted water each day in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster – has offered its services in the attempted clean up.

    So will the President Kick Ass and get the permissions needed expediated?


  13. Joe Smith says:

    I love this i want more on this subject
    any references please?