More testing needed for giant Gulf oil skimmer

A cleanup worker lifts a handheld skimmer full

A cleanup worker lifts a handheld skimmer full of weathered oil from the waters near the boat ramp adjacent to Ken Combs Pier, in Gulfport, Miss. (July 1, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

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NEW ORLEANS - Choppy seas have temporarily foiled attempts to see if a giant oil skimmer can be a silver bullet for cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bob Grantham, spokesman for Taiwanese shipping firm TMT, says the company’s vessel, dubbed “A Whale,” will need further testing off the coast of Louisiana.

Grantham said in an e-mail Monday that conditions in the Gulf over the weekend were too choppy to get definitive answers on the vessel’s capability.

Billed as the world’s largest oil skimmer, A Whale is supposed to be able to suck up 21 million gallons of oily water per day.

Grantham says testing will resume as soon as the water is calmer.

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