Giant ‘super skimmer’ no help with Gulf oil spill

HOUSTON, (Reuters) – A Taiwanese-owned “super  skimmer” ship sent to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil  spill has collected virtually no oil in two weeks of tests, a  U.S. Coast Guard official said yesterday.

“All we found in the tanks was water, so it was very  ineffective,” Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Zunkunft, federal  on-scene coordinator, told a news 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 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.

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