WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)—July 2, 2010. National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today provided an update on the federal government’s aggressive skimming strategy—specifically addressing efforts to surge skimmers to the Gulf of Mexico that will continue to increase the amount of oily water that can be collected from the surface of the water.
Admiral Allen announced that efforts to bring more skimmers to bear on BP’s leaking oil at the beginning of June. Since then, skimming capability in the Gulf has increased more than fivefold—from approximately 100 large skimmers at the beginning of June, to 550 skimming vessels of various sizes working to collect oil in all parts of the Gulf of Mexico as of today.
To date, 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix has been skimmed from the Gulf surface. Skimming, as with many other response activities, can be impacted by weather conditions.
The skimming surge has come throughout the month of June as an adaptation to the changing characteristics of the spill, which no longer presents itself as a single slick, but a massive collection of smaller patches of oil. Additional skimmers were needed and have been deployed to work those small patches at various depths and distances from the coast.
“From the beginning our response has been dynamic to match the ever shifting threat posed by this disaster, and that is why in early June we aggressively increased our focus on skimmers to combat the oil leaking from BP’s well,” said Admiral Allen. “We will continue to fight oil with as many skimmers as we can bring to bear on the water, while looking at every possible option for marshalling additional assets to impacted areas along the entire Gulf Coast. We will not rest until BP’s well has stopped leaking, the oil is cleaned up, and our communities are made whole.”
At the request of the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy is in the process of providing 22 additional shallow-water skimmers, 35 tow boats and three harbor buster skimmers normally stationed around the country—expected to arrive in the coming days. As of July 1, seven shallow-water skimmers, two harbor buster skimmers and eleven tow boats are in the area, in addition to 23 skimming systems provided by the Navy to the Coast Guard under an existing agreement.
The Unified Command will continue ramping up skimmer capability throughout the coming weeks, with a baseline target of more than 750 skimmers collecting oil in Gulf waters by mid July, and more by the beginning of August.
To meet the various areas that are impacted by oil—including oil far off shore, near shore, and even in beach, bay and marsh areas—the Coast Guard has deployed several different types of skimmers and skimming technology to meet these unique conditions. The Coast Guards goal is to ensure the responders have the right tools for the various challenges that are faced, and will continue to surge the resources necessary.
To view a fact sheet on skimmers and their use in the BP oil spill response, click here.