UPDATE 2-Giant ‘super skimmer’ no help with Gulf oil spill

* Coast Guard deems tanker unusable for Gulf spill

* Super tanker skimmed mainly water, not oil

* Vessel billed as possible savior for Gulf coast

* Company says dispersants make skimming difficult

(Updates with tanker deemed unusable for Gulf spill)

HOUSTON, July 16 (BestGrowthStock) – A Taiwanese-owned “super
skimmer” sent to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has
been a bust, the U.S. Coast Guard said after tests on the
ship.

“While its stature is impressive, ‘A Whale’ is not ideally
suited to the needs of this response,” Coast Guard Rear Admiral
Paul Zunkunft, a federal on-scene coordinator, said in a
statement late on Friday.

The tanker collected virtually no oil in two weeks of
tests, Zunkunft said at a news briefing earlier on Friday.

“All we found in the tanks was water, so it was very
ineffective,” he said at the briefing.

The 1,100-foot (335-metre) “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
Plc’s (BP.N: ) (BP.L: ) 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.

“The results are the amount of oil recovered by the A Whale
is nil,” Zunkunft said.

TMT billed the ship, which skims oil through horizontal
slits on its sides, as a vessel that could collect up to
500,000 barrels (21 million gallons) of contaminated water per
day.

The company defended the performance of its vessel and said
the large quantity of dispersants poured into the water near
the source of the spill made skimming difficult.

“The particular conditions present in the Macondo spill did
not afford the vessel the opportunity to recover a significant
amount of oil,” said a statement by Bob Grantham, spokesman for
TMT Offshore.

“This is due to the highly dispersed nature of the oil in
the Gulf. 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.

The company would continue to work with the Coast Guard to
improve its technology, he said.

Zunkunft said part of the challenge for the A Whale was
maneuvering a large vessel to pick up scattered patches of oil,
many no larger than a kitchen table. It also was not equipped
with suction but let oily water in the slits as it sailed.

“It may need a different type of oil spill, where you have
thick, heavy oil that is concentrated in order to be
effective,” Zunkunft said.
(Reporting by Bruce Nichols, Kristen Hays and Matthew Bigg;
editing by Stacey Joyce and Paul Simao)

UPDATE 2-Giant ‘super skimmer’ no help with Gulf oil spill