Sunday, June 27, 2010

Taiwan's A Whale Goes off to save Gulf

Thanks to commenter MX for this great story of a Taiwanese vessel off to save the Gulf of Mexico....
With no assurances it will be allowed to join the Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup, a Taiwanese-owned ship billed as the world's largest skimming vessel was preparing to sail Friday evening to the scene of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The 'A Whale' skimmer, 3 1/2 football fields long and 10 stories tall, was photographed in Norfolk, Va., on Friday. June 25 2010

The ship -- the length of 3 1/2 football fields and 10 stories high -- is designed to collect up to 500,000 barrels of oily water a day through 12 vents on either side of its bow. It docked in Norfolk en route to the Gulf from Portugal, where it was retrofitted to skim the seas. The ship and its crew of 32 were to leave Virginia waters Friday evening.

The owners of the "A Whale" said the ship features a new skimming approach that has never been attempted on such a large scale. They are anxious to put it to its first test in the Gulf.

"We really have to start showing people what we can do," said Bob Grantham, project coordinator for TMT Group, a Taiwan-based shipping company.

The company is still negotiating with the Coast Guard to join the cleanup and does not have a contract with BP to perform cleanup work. The company also needs environmental approval and waiver of a nearly century-old law aimed at protecting U.S. shipping interests.
The A Whale holds a million barrels of oil. Another story from Virginia notes:

Nobu Su, the CEO and founder of TMT Group, a Taiwanese shipping company, described the engineering behind his latest creation as "totally not common sense and totally against the rules."

Speaking in shirt sleeves and a blue baseball cap on the docks of Norfolk International Terminals, Su was referring to the special holes he had cut into the sides of his massive vessel, named A Whale.

As designed, the giant skimmer would roll across the Gulf "like a lawn mower cutting the grass," Su said, ingesting millions of gallons of oily water through the small slits.

The tainted water would then fall into huge storage tanks in the belly of the ship. There, oil would separate from sea water. The toxic stuff would be collected and disposed of, the water returned to the Gulf.

"A large-scale disaster needs a large-scale solution," Su told a crowd of reporters, shipping executives and regulators.

A Whale could handle 500,000 barrels of oily water a day, or slightly less than what all the skimmers now in the Gulf have gathered in more than 60 days on the job, Su said.

A no-brainer? Not quite.

Because the vessel is Taiwanese and was built in South Korea, it needs an exemption from the Jones Act, a federal law requiring commercial ships doing business in U.S. coastal waters to be American-flagged.

America's can-do spirit is alive and Taiwan.
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les said...

Cue stern warnings from Beijing in 5, 4, 3, 2....

Ben Goren said...

... 1

"We are proud that a Chinese vessel using the wisdom and ingenuity of great Chinese nation-race will play a large role in protecting our common heritage from the excesses of western environmental despoliation. We applaud the actions of our Chinese Taipei blood brothers in the Greater China nation and are proud of their contribution. We will monitor events closely."

Weren't expecting that were you?

I think we better get our heads round to the advent of a new type of rhetoric in which every Taiwanese achievement will be appropriated as one for the Chinese nation-race.

Anonymous said...

Taiwanese achievement will be appropriated as one for the Chinese nation-race.

Well Chinese nation-race achievement has been appropriated by the KMT for the last 50 years, so I wouldn't be complaining too loudly. Ah, how I miss Michael Chang! Thank god we still have Yo Yo Ma!

Anon guy

Anonymous said...

"Because the vessel is Taiwanese and was built in South Korea, it needs an exemption from the Jones Act, a federal law requiring commercial ships doing business in U.S. coastal waters to be American-flagged."

Yes, its not as if some important elected leader in the US could waive the Jones act....oh, but I suppose we can't upset the unions or offend China.

Readin said...

Has the US approved this yet? It says something about how US governtment has become overreaching and caused US culture has become dysfunctional that not matter what good someone tries to do, the US government is there to block it until it "approves" and that Americans have come to accept that as "normal".

Anonymous said...

Is this Taiwan company listed on any stock exchange or is it privately owned?

Anonymous said...

I'll bet if you put union people on that boat our Obama would say "I think that,, we have the right people,, on the job now,, so,, lets get going,." What a joke we show ourselves to be when we are looking to get re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Its all about who got "Obama" in the White House. If the Union isn't working on the project you can believe there will be lots of red tape and slow action on the part of getting the JOB DONE. This vessel should have had a go right from the start.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, A Whale was unable to help due to the highly dispersed nature of the oil.