Choppy Seas Foil Tests of 'A Whale'
No definitive answers, more testing needed for skimmer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2010 11:14 AM CDT
In this July 4, 2010 photo released by the Coast Guard, the Taiwanese skimmer "A Whale" tests its oil skimming capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Belson)
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(Newser) – 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 email today 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.