After making a brief stop in Norfolk for refueling, U.S. Coast Guard inspections and an all-out publicity blitz intended to drum up public support, a giant tanker billed as the world’s largest oil skimming vessel set sail Friday for the Gulf of Mexico where it hopes to assist in the oil-cleanup effort.
The Taiwanese-owned, Liberian-flagged ship dubbed the “A Whale” stands 10 stories high, stretches 1,115 feet in length and has a nearly 200-foot beam. It displaces more water than an aircraft carrier. …
But a number of hurdles stand in his way. TMT officials said the company does not yet have government approval to assist in the cleanup or a contract with BP to perform the work.
That’s part of the reason the ship was tied to pier at the Virginia Port Authority’s Norfolk International Terminals Friday morning. TMT and its public-relations agency invited scores of media, elected officials and maritime industry executives to an hour-long presentation about how the ship could provide an immediate boost to clean-up efforts in the Gulf.
TMT also paid to fly in Edward Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University, to get a look at the massive skimmer.
Overton blasted BP and the federal government for a lack of effort and coordination in their dual oil-spill response and made a plea to the government to allow the A Whale to join the cleanup operation.
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