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Taiwan supertanker unfit for skimming BP oil spill, says U.S.

Taiwan supertanker unfit for skimming BP oil spill, says U.S.

After extensive testing, a massive Taiwanese supertanker re-fitted for skimming oil in open water was deemed "not ideally suited" for cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, U.S. officials said Friday.
"While its stature is impressive," said Federal On-Scene Coordinator Admiral Paul Zukunft, "A Whale is not ideally suited to the needs of this response."
The supertanker sailed to the United States from Portugal last month after the joint cleanup effort decided to expand its fleet of oil skimmers to include mega-sized ships such as the Helix Producer, as the underwater oil leak continued to spew uncontrolled.
The A Whale has cuts in its sides to ingest oily water and then separate the two liquids, storing the oil and expelling the ocean water. It was rated to suck up as many as 21 million gallons of oily water a day.
However, after an extended trial period began July 2 during which the supertanker was put through its paces in open Gulf water, Zukunft announced it would not be used in the cleanup operation.
A report by a multiagency team under the supervision of the US Coast Guard said "the amount of oil recovered was negligible, and limited oil beyond a sheen was found in the cargo tanks" of the A Whale.
Therefore, the 340-meter (1,115-foot) A Whale "will not be deployed as a part of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill response," the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center said in a statement.