• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Giant Cleanup Ship Met with Puny Response from Bureaucrats

    After our government claimed that we did not need or could not obtain larger ships to skim the Gulf oil spill, a giant-capacity skimming ship has arrived in U.S. waters.  Yet our government has us wondering whether it will permit the ship to join the cleanup effort.

    The problem is not simply the Jones Act; it’s also that our Environmental Protection Agency may squelch the ability to use this giant ship.

    The S. S. A-Whale is not like the mere 4,000-barrel-a-day vessels we’ve been using.  Its owners say this ship, a converted oil tanker, can gather 500,000 barrels a day.  By comparison, say the owners, the entire fleet our government has authorized for BP has only gathered 600,000 barrels—TOTAL—in the 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion.  (NOTE:  500,000 barrels equals 21-million gallons.)

    The A-Whale is the essence of an international ship—built in South Korea, modified in Portugal, owned by Taiwanese and flagged in Liberia.  And that is part of the problem.  Even if it stays farther offshore than the 3-mile limit of America’s Jones Act, it still requires approval by the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency before BP can hire the A-Whale and put it to work.

    The second problem is that the ship would gather spilled oil, separate the water from the oil, and discharge the water back into the ocean so its tanks could be filled with oil.  Our EPA has a problem with that, because the discharge would retain a minor amount of oily residue.  To EPA, any residue greater than 15 parts per million is impermissible.  They elevate perfection above the need for speed.

    The A-Whale also uses a skimming method that has been tested but not previously used on an actual spill, gathering oil through large slits cut into the sides of its bow.

    When the ship arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, where it awaits a green light, the local media reported.

    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.

    “Built in South Korea as a supertanker for transporting oil and iron ore, the six-month-old vessel was refitted in the wake of the BP oil spill with 12, 16-foot-long intake vents on the sides of its bow designed to skim oil off surface waters

    “The vessel’s billionaire owner, Nobu Su, the CEO of Taiwanese shipping company TMT Group, said the ship would float across the Gulf “like a lawn mower cutting the grass,” ingesting up to 500,000 barrels of oil-contaminated water a day.

    “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.”

    Not trusting the U.S. government to act quickly, TMT has hired public relations officials and lobbyists, and invited the media to inspect the ship, trying to cut through the federal red tape that has slowed down the cleanup so far.

    Not until June 16th did our government officially decree that we needed foreign ships, because U.S. skimmers lacked the capacity.  And our officials had claimed that no oil tanker-size vessels were available.  And they have issued no waivers of the Jones Act.

    As Rep. Corinne Brown (D, FL) told a congressional hearing, “We need the large ships. . . . They are available in foreign countries.”

    It’s long past due that we put more resources on the problem.  Every delay has enabled more oil to make landfall, and be whipped up and spread by potential hurricanes.  By bureaucratic delays in finding and hiring bigger cleanup vessels, our government and BP have enabled the problem to be worse than it had to be.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    48 Responses to Giant Cleanup Ship Met with Puny Response from Bureaucrats

    1. Pingback: Giant Cleanup Ship Met with Puny Response from Bureaucrats | Plug The Bleeping Hole

    2. Pingback: Gulf Cleanup Generating Jobs in Northern NevadaBig Nevada | Big Nevada

    3. Brian J. Donovan, Ta says:

      BP and USCG will eventually use tankers to collect the oil that has been released into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon blowout of April 20, 2010. Unfortunately, this decision will be made after the devastation of many coastal communities.

      Since May 17, 2010, Renergie, Inc. has submitted unsolicited proposals for the purpose of using three Panamax class crude tankers for the collection and onboard separation of the BP oil spill to every federal agency, state agency, state elected official and federal elected official with even a remote interest in the BP oil spill. These tankers are capable of collecting and separating both surface oil and the underwater plumes of oil.

      The USCG response to Renergie's proposal stated, “Unfortunately, the Coast Guard does not currently have a mission and is not hiring contractors. However, if BP requests names, I will recommend and forward your company.”

      The blowout of April 20, 2010 aboard the Deepwater Horizon was clearly preventable. The fact that the BP oil spill has been allowed to reach coastal areas is inexcusable.

      For a clear understanding of the issues involved, visit:

      http://renergie.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/bp-is-no

      and

      http://donovanlawgroup.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/t

      and

      http://donovanlawgroup.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/w

    4. Randall Harman Flori says:

      I–like many others–am disappointed and angry that the administration is failing to use ALL reasonable means to clean the gulf. It appears as though the administration doesn't want to resolve this environmental disaster.

    5. Pat-San Antonio says:

      We need every bit of help we can get. Why the delay? The little bit of oil that this ship would put back into the waters of the Gulf is inconsequential compared to the enormous amount of oil they would take out. Are there morons running this show? The more time we waste dickering around, the more oil spills into our water.

    6. Don Bennett, Evansto says:

      So the EPA wants perfection and the government, BP and, Coast Guard wonder if it will work.

      Let's see; 40,000 – 60,000 bpd of well stream flowing into the Gulf and we're worried about perfection in oil and sea water separation or if something will work at 100% efficiency?

      Where's the leadership? This is ideology and government bureaucracy at it's worst.

    7. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      The Obama Administration's hinderance of the oil cleanup is clearly a conscious

      decision to create as much environmental damage as possible, thus to demonize

      the petrolium industry and elevate "green" energy. This is an appalling moral failure on the part of our dear leader.

    8. Donald Martin says:

      Why not try everything, monitior the discharge waster. 15% oil in the water is better than 100% isn't it!

    9. Grace says:

      I too feel the administration is NOT doing everything possible to help the people in the Coastal areas. The main problem is cleaning and collecting this stuff – not what the EPA is worried about. Too much red tape involved here. Very political.

    10. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    11. William Downey, JD L says:

      The administration does not have a unified command structure. It is in fact a group of committees and agnecies. The command structure needs to have a no nonsense lead follow or get out of my way boss.

    12. ddolan in new jersey says:

      The Obama administration is really acting "stupidly" in not issuing a waiver of "Jones Act" restrictions immediately if not before. A waiver should have been announced by the White House months ago to permit BP to use any and every possible method for cleaning the oil spill. Specifically, the concern over environmental concerns could be immediately waived, even if it results in court action. Deal with the court actions later – clean the oil now!

    13. jdalabama says:

      Makes you think Obama favors the spill doesn't it?

    14. Denise, Utah says:

      The Gulf oil disaster should make it crystal clear to EVERYONE that the bigger the federal government gets the less effective and more expensive the results. Government agencies meant to protect the environment are competing with each other under so many regulations that in the end NOTHING will be accomplished. If the cleanup would have been turned over to the private sector it would have been much more effective and many times cheaper for the taxpayer.

    15. Tim AZ says:

      Unfortunately the regime recognizes that there are more ideological gains as well as personal gains to be had by maximizing this environmental tragedy rather than containing the leak and ending the assault on our shores. Some how I don't think the environmentalists will look upon this as a green jobs creator worthy of a pass on judgment of the regimes actions.

    16. Norm Klevens says:

      Some need to be given a bold wake up call. Obama wants the worse possible damage to the coast. And like the financial crisis he will simply blame Bush. His agenda is more important than anything. I do not hear the environmentalists screaming at Obama. What is occurring along the gulf coast is a tragedy that was precipitated by the BP explosion, but is magnified by the lack of what ? fire extinguishers and life preservers that are available in any boat shop and a 1920 law. Landreu should be screaming at Obama for the intentional acts being committed by denying the skimmer ships. Will he be held accountable by the voters ?

    17. Sandy CT says:

      Why are people not up in arms over the lack of clean-up in the Gulf? Because it matters not what the people want. It is what Obama and his administration want that is what is important here. The fact that this ship could have minimized the damage to the gulf by a significant amount and may not be utilized is horrifying to all the citizens of the US. While we see thousands of people now out of work, beautiful shoreline areas ruined, sea creatures dying, and so many other horrific repercussions from this oil spill our POTUS lectures the American people about what will be our punishment ie: cap and tax. As he continues to party on we lose jobs, tighten our belts, lose our college funds, and try to keep our heads above water. What a slap in the face this Hope and Change turned out to be. It's what happens when you put the govt in charge.

    18. Pingback: The Absurd Report » Giant Cleanup Ship Met with Puny Response from Bureaucrats

    19. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      I live down here. I see and understand that Obama is deliberatly NOT making an effort to help the clean-up or to prevent oil from reaching the shores of the Gulf Coast. His actions are designed to actually make it possible for more oil to reach shore. He wants this to happen! The more oil, the better chance of passing Crap and Tax. When, and how much must this socialist do to make all of the people in this country realize just what Obama is causing.

    20. Jackie, NYC says:

      As if we needed any further proof that big government is completely incompetent. I'm shocked at the lack of action and the insensitivity

      to the people in the Gulf. And excuse me, but wasn't it the government

      that gave the oil drilling contract to BP in the first place?

    21. Les Stewart, South C says:

      I have been telling people that the Obama band is letting this oil spill become a major disaster in order to gain leverage for passing his anti-oil agenda. Its just more of Rahm Emanuel's "You can't let a crises go to waste"! This country is going downhill fast and Obama is driving the bus!

    22. tarpon says:

      Our federal government is the biggest cluster-you-know-what ever seen on the planet.

      So instead of cleaning up 99% of the oil, we are going to leave it all in the water to coat all the pelicans and then we can use ground up oiled pelicans for fuel.

    23. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      Let's not waste a crisis, this is the theme fot BHO's administration, my theory is that they want it to grow then come in with a quick clean up an say"See what we did" then use it to get re-elected. They think they can get these people to forgive and vote for them again. I have three sons and a daughter in Fla. as well as a brother, they keep me informed as to how the tide is going and right now it's in the toilet for BHO. We need someone in Congress to override this POTUS and send in the ship to help before a hurricane makes it worse. There are shrimp boats sitting idle off the coast of Fla. and Louisianna, Ala.the wid life needs help, workers need to be able to clean beaches more than 20 min an hour. EPA needs to wake up and see they are hindering clean-up by their so called commissions. I could go on, let's hope wiser heads prevail and turn this around.

    24. JerryM, TX says:

      Seems to me that we are sadly lacking in party-line response to this problem, just as we lacked at the end of the last presidential campaign. By now, with some real, live leadership that both the conservatives and the Tea Parties could have made enough noise to have pressured a fix. Are there so many skeletons in the closets of the "right side of the aisle" that they are all afraid of their jobs, careers or lives. Which is it?

      Only one man, Joe Barton Jr. of TX spoke up, and the rest of the politicians crucified him, and it sounded as though it were done from the sound bites, not the real apology. He only apologized for the shakedown for $20Billion, not the whole problem.

      Come on, leadership, WHERE ARE YOU?????

    25. Michelle says:

      This government and all who are involved in it are scary incompetent or scary corrupt, take your pick.

    26. Edward Jarrett says:

      I would like to forward this message e-mail to many friends.Would this be possible, thanks

    27. Bryan, seattle says:

      Darn! They built it before I could. Ya know, if we built one of these here, we could clean up this mess starting in 2015. We could spout the exiting water out of the top in a fire boat fashion just in time to celebrate the health care beginning date. Of course, by then the oil well would be empty and the oil eaten by the ocean’s natural forces.

    28. Australia says:

      This is a really disgusting situation. In November 2009 there was an oil rig explosion to the north of Australia in the Timor Sea. The oil spill from the explosion has been minimized. This is because there were not the layers of regulations and like every other spill near Australia the reaction was fast….

      I am shocked that in this situation not enough is being done for the clean up. The Exxon Valdez happened under the watch of George Bush Sr. Guess what the LSM made a big song and dance about the oil spill… yet with this one, which is far more devastating there is very little in the LSM. On top of that the jerks are trying to protect the one person who is intent upon making it worse.

      Wake up America… call for Obama to be impeached for eco terrorism.

    29. THE CAPTAIN, New Orl says:

      I am on the Florida Gulf Coast this week. So far Destin has only seen sporadic tar balls. But the real oil is coming, and it will ruin these beaches just like it is ruining the marshland and coastal areas of Louisiana.. The tourist, fishing and oil industry in La. is hurting. Talking to the business people here in Fla., they are hurting as well. It can only get worse. The Obama administration and our Congress have not done what they are supposed to do: protect our country from harm. This is no different than a foreign country launching an attack on us. I spoke to Cong, (Senator wanna be) Melancon yesterday. He was here in Destin. I told him that the govt needs to get moving and clean this oil up and I did not care how they did or whose ships they used.

    30. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Defund EPA and fire the rest that stand in the way and that includes Obama.

      Obama must be impeached for the gross negligence in the face of severe harm to our people and environment in the case of the oil spill. He must also be impeached for not enforcing the immigration laws and secure life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of American citizens. If those are no high crimes, then murder is not a punishable crime.

      Let us stop pussyfooting around and call a spade a spade.

    31. Hank Schaeffer says:

      Obama is doing everything possible to prevent the quick resolution to this problem.. It is not in his interest to solve this problem quickly..he needs a cause to be relevant. The man is stupid like a fox

    32. Allen Scott Pennsylv says:

      Crisis and the chaos surrounding it makes for a nice smoke screen for which to hide true aims and intentions. Although I can not say with absolute certainty but I believe the old adage would apply here. Actions speak louder than words. Of course Obama's words have been pretty clear about exactly what he wants America to think about this oil spill. He would like very much for the population to grow extremely impatient with and angry at BP for this mess and their apparent lack of expedience in cleaning it up. All this gives Obama cover to enact even more of his freedom stealing agenda items with the help of his cronies in congress.

      The arrogance and the wilful negligence of this administration is painfully obvious to anyone who cares to stop long enough to objectively assess the situation. I really do not care if BP is to blame or not for the cause of the spill. I do know that not everything that can be done is being done to clean up the mess. There will be plenty of time to point fingers and assess blame after we have done all we can to stop the spill and clean up the mess. All technologies and all who are willing to help with the cleanup should be engaged and permitted to do so. IF the Jones act has not been revoked then it needs to be PRONTO. However all of this should have been decided on DAY ONE. ALL HANDS should already be ON DECK like MR Obama said they were.

      The fact that this mess and the consequent inaction of the government has only gotten worse and not better proves that too much money and power is going to the federal government and it is time for states to assert their independence and act accordingly. Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida are the states which are being affected the most by this disaster and they should be the ones coordinating the cleanup measure. If the federal government is to be involved at all it should make sure that the states are given all the resources they need and are free to act in their own best interests, which would be in the best interest of the country. IMO.

    33. Pingback: Pressure prods Feds to improve oil cleanup | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

    34. bill alford bellevie says:

      This is just another example of the clever fools we have on capitol hill. When are the american people going to realize that our government is literall being stolen from us by CROOKS.

    35. John Lantana, FL says:

      I believe that an effective effort to stop the oil flow and clean up the mess in the Gulf is not in the true interest of this so called President. I firmly believe that this helps him advance an agenda, which is no longer hidden, when we look at all the damage this man has cause the U.S. in terms of our national economy and unemployment.We are on a down hill slide into Hell with this Marxist. I am annoyed to no end every time I hear someone call Obama incompetent, this man is a competent, scheming, operative who is working for the CHANGE of this nation!!

    36. Wally Pieper says:

      All the questioning about "why" the Fed Govt is not using tools such as SS Whale. The Communist sitting in the oval office has absolutely no intention of taking care of the spill problem. It does not fit into his radical, communist agenda. The spill and it's aftermath are perfect weapons to him to set up a "crisis" that will allow him to absorb more control over our lives. It gives him and the sycophants in lame stream media ammunition to force "global warming/climate change legislation down our throats.

    37. Steve, Greenville SC says:

      I think the gulf states should bring it in, use National Guard troops to keep Coast Guard and pencil-pushers away and send the bill to Obama. Time has run out.

    38. George Fuller Saraso says:

      My impression is the Govt. does not want to clean up the spill……..all for political purposes.

      What better ad for solar and wind than oily beaches…….

    39. Dustin, CA says:

      The comments most of you have made are absolutely ridiculous! How can you actually believe that Obama wants to destroy the environment? Also, have any of the readers here actually researched what the government is doing and why it is doing it?

      The truth: The government has agreed to use the A-Whale and other foreign ships to clean up this oil spill. In fact, the A-Whale is on its way to the Gulf right now. There are some very good reasons this has taken a while, the first being that we have no idea how and if this tanker will work. Also, it will cost a ton of money to get it there and start it up, so why spend all that money if it's not going to work.

      After approving the use of the A-Whale, Government officials are quoted saying they are "about as excited as you can be about something that you have no idea what it can do."

      This is all according to many different news sites that do not have a political agenda.

      This "news" site is 100% propaganda (worse than FOX News). I would not be surprised if my comment is deleted because it will be the only one that questions this biased site.

    40. Pingback: A-Whale Won’t Help: EPA Denies A Whale Operating Permit « Dr Kent’s Blog

    41. burt n.c says:

      I am from the gulf coast and seeing those pictures of oil covered pelicans standing still in a stupor induced by hypothermia and petroleum fumes breaks my heart, there is damage being done here that will have ripple effects around the world… Leaders from other countrys have enough heart and wisdom to know this will end up in their food chains as well and anyone who dosent treat this like a house on fire is not human but is some kind of alien machine who will distroy us all.

    42. Pingback: Morning Bell: Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List

    43. Pingback: Gulf Oil Spill Updates, Thread #6 | The Hayride

    44. Ted, Alabama says:

      Having recently been in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, I found myself watching with dismay Oil rolling in to the sugar white sand beaches. Alabama in fact HAD sufficient heavy absorbent boom in place across Our entire coastline. However the day after James Carville's Televised rant at the President on the national media, this was Taken away by the Coast Guard to Louisiana. Mr. Obama's "Demoncrud" buddy got something done at Our expense. I think this is ALL politics. Obama is not popular in Alabama did not carry this state and is hanging us out in the breeze to make Us pay for it. This whole thing is a great example of just how Incompetent and corrupt Our nations political system and Bureaucracies have become.

    45. Ian Mott, Brisbane, says:

      It is interesting to note that the prevailing official narrative has ignored the possibility that this oil has a value ($96/55Gal drum) and is fair salvage on the high seas and should be available to anyone who wanted to collect it. See "who killed free market oil salvage?" at http://ianmott.blogspot.com/

      I am also not familiar with the actual letter of US law but it is likely to be similar to Australian/British law in respect of the definition of "improper exercise of power". This includes, "exercise of power according to rule (ie no droplets in returned water) without regard for the merits of the particular case", failing to take relevant matters into account, placing to much reliance on irrelevant matters, and the straight out exercising power in a way that is unreasonable. All of these aspects of improper exercise of power have a major influence on legal questions of negligence. Clearly, the EPA has has failed to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise harm.

      For the record, the same US authority sent the Dutch skimmers home (unused) back in 1989 during the Exon Valdez incident. It is clearly standard operating procedure for them to maximise the impact of oil derived ecological disasters.

    46. Randy, Michigan says:

      My hats off to Mr Nobu Su and his company for modifying this ship after the oil spill happened and getting it done and then getting it here. It's to bad it is tied up in so much Bureaucratic red tape. This ship and others similar to it should have been working days ago. It is time for the EPA to go. We can all see how well they have protected the environment in the Gulf area. Remember this is the same agency that said we needed cat converters on our cars back in 1975. Cat converters run at 1000 degrees F and spew sulfuric acid mist into the air. If you said of the millions of cars running ever day, all putting out 1000 degree heat. I wonder how much that would add to the global warming issue.

      We can only hope that we never get attacked by a nuclear missile with an average of 20-30 minute flying time. The EPA would probably want to study the fall out to see if it was safe to launch a retaliatory strike a few weeks later.

    47. Tenn Slim, Western T says:

      Opine

      Reviewing the 70 plus days of action and IN action by the OBNA, one is led inexorably to the obvious.

      OBNA has every intention of making this BP oil spill the key stone of the EPA regulatory accession over the GNP of the USA. Coupled with the NO DRILL edict, the spill effectively guts the oil companies involvement with the USA.

      A goal long sought by the Left. Ending Oil Subsidies never worked, but the Demise of BP, the Accession of EPA, the Moratorium on Drilling will do the trick.

      bt

      We will have NO OIL, and NO GNP by the end of 2011, just in time to cancel the 2012 elections. The Leftt is not going quietly into the night.

      end

    48. Susan, Central Calif says:

      People! Please take your blinders off & stop deluding yourselves!

      More information has come out since the publishing of this article. By now, no one here should be questioning the fact that this administration did everything possible to further the damage wrought from this spill, as well as doing everything possible to exploit the situation in all possible ways. The U.S. Government shilled for BP oil, and moreover colluded with BP Oil in a conspiratorial coverup that has harmed and will harm the citizens of this country. Notice I did not say that the government cause the oil spill; however, various FACTS such as recent insider stock sell-offs and recent investments in Petrobras strongly point in that direction. Just take the blinders off and follow the money!

      We can't do anything to stop this disgusting state of affairs unless we stop deluding ourselves and face reality. This administration has overwhelmingly proven itself to be untrustworthy; this administration has also overwhleming shown that it acts to benefit a few, while assuming an aggressive adversarial stance against American citizens. At this poiint no one should ever again believe a word of Obama's rhetoric; all statements made by this government should be viewed as propaganda. This administration has not given Americans a single reason to have faith or trust in the government, nor has this administration given Americans a single reason to believe anything said by the same.

      When the government shills for and protects a corporation, we can justifiably conclude that the environment in which we live is one of established tyranny.

      Always, always….prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×