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  • Free Enterprise Crashes the Oil Cleanup Party

    Solving the problem of cleaning up the waters in the Gulf of Mexico may depend not on government, nor on the corporate giant BP, but on innovation and commitment to free enterprise. One promising and persistent example is Mr. Nobu Su of Taiwan, CEO of TMT Corporation.

    Thursday morning he is to meet with Coast Guard officials in New Orleans to outline this weekend’s trial run of the A Whale, the huge tanker/oil skimmer which Su has brought to America. He says the ship is the long-needed “big answer to a big problem.”

    Although he was dismissed when he originally shared his concept with BP and U.S. officials after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Su forged ahead and spent millions to add intake valves on the bow of the 1,115-foot, 10-story tall ship. These allow it to gather 500,000 barrels daily of spilled oil and water—250 times the capacity of the other ships now engaged in the cleanup.

    In a face-to-face meeting in Washington, DC, Su told me he still does not know how many millions he spent to sail the ship from near Shanghai to a Portugal shipyard, there to have its unique oil-skimming system installed, and then dispatch the ship to the U.S. He says he made the decision to act about May 1st and the ship arrived in the U.S. by June 25—a timetable that U.S. officials had considered impossible to achieve.

    Su believes so firmly in its potential that he already has retrofitting underway in Portugal on the B Whale, a sister ship that he says could arrive in the Gulf of Mexico by mid-July. And the C Whale not too long afterward.

    Despite the original rebuffs from BP and federal bureaucrats, Su charged ahead. Rather than waiting to be invited to help in the Gulf, he wrangled an invitation from Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to make port in Norfolk for a media event. Once it was on the scene, it became impossible for the Coast Guard and other federal officials, plus BP, to overlook the Whale. And McDonnell’s avid support was a big help.

    In essence, the A Whale had crashed the cleanup party, rather than waiting for an invitation.

    Su’s team now has appreciative words for the Coast Guard’s willingness to give the ship a chance. Greater concerns are whether others in the oil spill bureaucracy will create barriers, especially over the issue of discharged water. Because most (85-90%) of what is collected is water, the A Whale and other international oil skimmers separate out the oil and discharge the water. It’s unclear whether the EPA would try to impose its strict standards that discharged water can only have 15 ppm of pollutants—a requirement of 99.9985% purity that is impossible to meet on this scale and under these conditions.

    So far, the Obama Administration has not issued environmental or Jones Act waivers that would remove any doubts about whether the A Whale can go to work, if its test runs prove successful. Then Su’s TMT company could negotiate with BP for its services.

    Could bad weather get in the way? Su says the mammoth vessel can withstand what others cannot, so it would be the last ship that had to leave due to weather—and the first to return to oil removal work. Because his company also operates oil drilling platforms in Asia, Su is familiar with the challenges of weather.

    Su’s team generously gives credit to the USA for creating his entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that he says is part of his Taiwanese upbringing. His senior vice president, T.K. Ong, says the environment for success was created by the “moral and material support” provided by the USA to the island nation after it broke from mainland China.

    While we all hope that the A Whale will prove to be a great success, it’s important to recognize that a system of free enterprise is necessary to create that success–and hopefully many more.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    34 Responses to Free Enterprise Crashes the Oil Cleanup Party

    1. Tom ` Columbus, Ohio says:

      It's about time that somebody stepped up to the plate and did something that will make a significant dent in the sizable problem. A foreign company caused the problem, why not have a foreign company fix it; since we seem to be hindered by asking who should do it, or should we do it this way. Sometimes the rednecks have it right….."Git er done!"

    2. Pingback: Free Enterprise Crashes the Oil Cleanup Party | Plug The Bleeping Hole

    3. John W Colorado says:

      Does anyonw have a link to this companny or Mr. Su? Regardless of how this amazing thing works, I want to Thank them for making such a huge effort to help!

    4. Steve, Missouri says:

      Our government has made a mockery of this oil spill and our country. This administration doesn't care about people's lives. What happened to "We the people by the people"? That's long gone. Our present administration does what ever they what with no repercussion. Laws mean nothing to our government. When our administration violates the law, cheats, lies, they give a “lame excuse” press release that means nothing and ignore the people. Do you think the American people are really that stupid! What makes them above the law? The mentality is we can do what ever we want and you (The People) can’t do anything about it. They only care about power. All politics should go out the window in an event like this and allow all that are capable to contribute in the clean up. This has been a problem for years not just this administration. Let those that want to help clean up help! Do your Job US government and protect and support AMERICA! GET TO WORK!

      Proud American

    5. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      No foreign vessel can and does not just arrive and say "I'm here". Weeks of prior notices must be given and premission must be granted before that vesel can enter US waters. Be assured, the Coast Guard (thus Obama) knew for weeks this vessel was coming and the reason why. Once again, the USCG and the EPA are being misused as idiot pawns by the Obama administration to futher deliberately distort, slow-down, and confuse the clean-up efforts. To better understand the role of BP, just look at their connections to Obama's and his Cap and Trade bill. Any permission for this vessel be used must come from Obama, not BP. At day 73, still no response from Obama to what must and should be done. Don't expect one until he gets movement on Crap and Tax.

    6. J. Rucker, Myrtle Be says:

      How dare one of our allies, Taiwan, a country who has successfully rejected the ideological dogma of communist China and who exist only throuogh the courage and determination of their people who will never relent to oppression, suggest that they were inspired by the USA's entrepreneurial spirit to come help us! How dare he assume that we needed outside technical expertise. I predict, however, that all of Su's efferts will go to naught because:

      1: He is obviously a free-thinking Nationalist and self-made man forged in the image of other great American idealists and innovators thereby creating a clear threat to State rule and government mandates protecting our waters and natural resources.

      2: The present Democratic administration will find ways to undermine A Whale's efforts unless they receive total universal credit should the cleanup be a success.

      3: The US Government can not be embarrassed by "right leaning" idiologically inferior intruders who are obviously seeking to embarrass The US Coast Guard, The EPA, BP Oil and the American Congress through their manipulation of a national disaster for their own financial gain!

      Semper Fidelis Mr. SU. May you exceed beyond all your expectations as the world watches!!

    7. Pete, Houston says:

      It is encouraging to see that individuals in this world can do what governments can't do. It is a foundation of this country. Government should be limited to several tasks that it is capable of doing on the larger scale and let the individual spirit solve the other issues. Laziness has taken over in this country and for those that act, the government holds them back.

      I say Thank You to Mr.Su for acting.

    8. vicki grant arizona says:



      THE "SPILL"










    9. Richard, New Orleans says:

      Dear EPA – Just a simple question. Is it better to have 100% oil in the water or just 10% oil and a waiver of a regulation. The Pres says we are fighting hard, did you miss that memo?


      Just Wondering

    10. vicki grant arizona says:


      GOOGLE IT…..


      ETCHED IN GRANITE!!!!!!!!








    11. Brian J. Donovan, Ta says:

      Collection of the BP oil spill has never been a "skimming" operation. Both underwater plumes and surface oil must be collected. Given its lack of maneuverability and location of suction inlet ports, "A Whale" will merely be able to collect some of the surface oil in calm seas.

      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:






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    13. Raphael Renta says:

      In reality we have not had capitalism for well over 100 years in the US. The well meaning advocates of free enterprise and the free market should stop calling what we have "capitalism", it isn't. What we have is a "mixed economy" a term that is virtually never heard these days. It is a mixture of economic freedom which creates the prosperity and useless or vicious government controls which create economic chaos which is then blamed on "capitalism." That is why we must call our current system by its real name, to avoid having free enterprise being smeared by the faults of a mixed economy. Nevertheless Mr. Su's story is inspiring and reflects the courage and spirit of a real entrepreneur.

    14. Virginia Davis, Stil says:

      I'm very proud that Ernest Istook, the author of this article, is one of our Congressmen here in Oklahoma! Thank you Mr. Istook!

    15. Deborah, Scott AFB, says:

      This is a wonderful story and the fact that the great ship is here to help us not by invitation but in answer to the many prayers coming from the Gulf region. Wow, Please keep the world posted on their efforts and I am looking forward (if their tests are successful) to the other two ships to arrive. This is very touching! Thank you, Mr. Nobu Su of Taiwan!!

    16. Fred Thompson says:

      The Dutch also offered large capacity oil spill cleanup equipment to us but were rebuffed by the administration. I hope this offer is accepted. It certainly is more effective than current efforts.

    17. savetheusa Tempe Ari says:

      Either Obama or BP could have brought these ships in. The Jones Act does not apply in this case. See Hornbeck comments on the Jones act and read it. There have been 45 foreign vessels already operating in the gulf as reported by Hornbeck! Once again the Heritage foundation is attempting to spin something just like the Obama administration. Free enterprise will not work if there is no one to pay for it! So if BP decides to back out. States and the Federal government are bankrupt. Who pays?

    18. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      I have no problem with anyone getting the oil out of the gulf, absolutely everyone should be given the chance to try.

      I do have a giant problem with dolts and fools who keep placing the blame on foriegn companies for the leak in the first place.

      Look to the facts;

      1. If an American Company had been given the permit to drill, say Shell, the U.S. Coast Guard would have been in entire control of the safety inspections, which normally last one week, and they keep the right of entry and recheck. Instaed, our Administration choose to allow a foriegn company to drill, which require an international inspection of four hours.

      2. The Federal Board in charge of issuing the permit to dill had denied BP, because of their safety record, being twice as bad as the other six contenders added together.

      3. The Obama Administration brought pressure to bear and BP was granted drilling permits.

      The rest is history.

    19. cynthia, nebraska says:

      from day one y'all seem to think obama should don a wet suit and stick his finger in the hole like the dutch boy did in tales of old. get real. put the blame where it belongs. and, so what that he played a bit of golf too. big deal. R&R helps one clear the head and do some clear headed thinking. get off his back people. i am sure he cares and wishes he could personally fix it.

      may God bless this man who is sending this huge ship to see if it can help us amazing. wow. i hope and pray it helps.

      y'all need to buck up and quit blaming the wrong people. and are all of you willing to go help clean the beaches? how many of you critical souls have gone south to help with the cleanup? betcha NONE of you!!!

      nobu su….. my hat's off to you. thank you.

    20. William Little ,Loga says:

      It seams anything (even a tea cup and spoon) is better then just sitting around and doing nothing. we talk about helping others around the world and then wounder why no one comes to help us, helps here its called a whale

    21. William, South Jerse says:

      I applaud this kind of thinking and risk taking. What is a shame is this kind of get it done spirit was the American Spirit and today it's been strangled in government red tape. In many ways America no longer wants to win. Other countries and peoples want to win because they have lived with losing. I hope we change out attitude before we get used to losing. I can't help but think of the great speach George C. Scott made in the movie Patton. In America do we still love a winner? I hope so. Lets expand the words on the Statute of Liberty to include giving us your winners. Lets turn this country around by reducing the regulations and cutting the financial burden on winners.

    22. Craig Sacramento says:

      Sure proves that free enterprise beats the heck out of corrupt and incompetent socialist government. And to think they did this whole conversion in just a few weeks. Our crummy government would spend years just trying to design it, then they would have to cope with the corrupt unions to get it built. All I can say is God bless the Koreans who built this great ship and may God bless the Tiawanese fellow who ordered the conversion and got it all done and sent over to the Gulf in a record time which left heads spinning in our socialist leaders! We really owe a colossal vote of thanks to those who made A Whale possible!

    23. Rex, Fremont, CA says:

      I find it ironic that Me. Su seems to be a better patriot, and more appreciative of the "Can Do" spirit that made the USA great than most of the people in Washington who are more interested in shuffling paperwork. As someone recently pointed out: A beuracracy considers that it's done well as long as the procedure is followed, regardless if anything was accomplished or not.

    24. Don Smith says:

      After the oil began gushing out of this wellhead the congress should have immediately suspended EPA requirementsfor the collection or burning of the spent oil. This would have allowed Governor Jindal to build the berms he so desparately needed to secure the delicate wetlands along his state's coastline. Instead he had EPA roadblock after EPA roadblock and no committment to the region from the president except for a few well placed sound bites. Oh the outrage, oh the destruction, all documented by the mainstream media day and night. The pictures of the pelicans and turtles. Obama's media was in full swing. And with every media report there is the president and his "kick ass", Spike Lee generated cowtow, and posturing. Then came the BP summit to show the government has "their boot" (another Gibbs invention) on the neck of the big bad oil company. Every little non-action of this disaster has been carefully orchestrated to appear as if the administration is doing all it can but in reality it is doing none of the things of a regulatory nature that need done. The best example of this is Thad Allen as the government wathdog in the gulf and on the news almost daily. His position is NO POSITION. He can't make a decision, he can't authorize any actions and he can't move any government agency budgets to solve the problem. He is there strictly to be on TV every morning and evening to show the people that President Obama cares about the gulf region. A total snow job.

      The gulf coast governors need to unite in disobdience to the EPA statutes and rules and do what they feel is the "right" actions to protect their shores. They can handle the lawsuits that the EPA will bring later in court after the oil spill is contained. The kick in the head would probably be the president then sending in the national guard to squelch the cleanup effots and berm building. What an eye opener that would be. It your state governors. You are sworn to protect it regardless of the US governments scripted non-response. Take a lesson from Arizona and show some fortitude.

    25. Ian Mott, Brisbane, says:

      The real issue seems to be, is this oil still the property of BP or is it 'fair salvage' on the high seas? If it is fair salvage then it is the right of any American to go out there and collect as much as he can with whatever means that he can and then sell it for whatever price he can obtain. It would also seem to be the case that any American could charter Mr Su's ship for the same purpose. Clearly, Mr Su is of the opinion that he can collect a large volume of oil at a cost that is less than the price he can sell that oil on the world market. And there is little room for doubt that any US fishing boat with an on-board storage capacity of more than 3 tons could also collect this salvage oil at a profit. And there is also little doubt that impoverished Mexican fishermen in small open boats with only three or four, 55USgall, drums of stortage capacity could also collect smaller oil patches at what they would regard as a very handsome profit. See "Who killed free market oil salvage"? at http://ianmott.blogspot.com/ Instead, the USCG and EPA have turned a significant opportunity into a massive cost. The evidence is clear that the chemicals used to break down oil does more damge to wetlands than the oil itself. And it is also obvious that the more oil that is collected the less chemical is required to treat the remaining oil. The only sensible option has always been, "all of the above", and we must all wonder which part of this concept is so hard for the bureaucrats to understand.

    26. Pingback: Oil Spill News

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    28. J.T. Wenting, Nether says:

      A question: Af the ship is operating outside of US territorial waters, what authority does the US Coast Guard have to impose its requirements for discharging water on its crew?

      I'd think (but I'm no expert at maritime law) that there can be no such restrictions.

      At worst, the ship cannot return to port in the US for fear of its crewmembers being arrested for doing something that's a crime in the US but not where they actually did it.

      If so, they can just dock somewhere else, offload and resupply there, and get back to work.

      Might mean slightly longer transit times, but blame the US government for delaying the mission rather than the ship's operators (just as the US govermnent is systematically delaying any cleanup attempts, including those by BP itself).

    29. J.T. Wenting, Nether says:

      "The real issue seems to be, is this oil still the property of BP or is it ‘fair salvage’ on the high seas?"

      The oil is coming from an underground well, not from a BP storage tank. BP never had control over it, so why would it be theirs?

      This is now effectively a crack in the earth spewing forth crude oil under pressure, not a burst pipeline or storage tank.

    30. Ian Mott, Brisbane, says:

      That is a very good point JT Wenting. And as the source of the oil is outside the US territorial waters but inside the fishing (Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)) then there would be no legal basis to prevent a ship passing through the area from collecting salvage along the way. If they are not fishing then neither the US Coast Guard nor the EPA have any power to stop them collecting salvage and selling it to other nations.

      The irony is that the EPA requirements (impediments) can be easily avoided by using a large tank without a top or bottom, with floats that keep the upper rim above the surface. When water and oil is pumped into such a structure the oil will still float to the top and the water will pass out the bottom. The oil will become quite thick and mostly pure oil can then be pumped into other storages. But the water with small oil droplets that goes out the bottom of the cylinder would not constitute an illegal discharge because it has merely been pumped from one part of the ocean to another. This is not the case when the oil/water mixture is pumped into an on-ship tank for seperation because that process involves removal and return.

    31. Richard Harvey (New says:

      We need a Dunkirk style initiative to mobilized all manner of vessels with oil sucking and storing capacity to the urgent task of oil salvage. We need high capacity skimmers such as Mr. Su's "A Whale" as well as vessels with a capacity to siphon up oil from concentrated sub surface pools. The Dunkirk evacuation was minimally organized. All manner of vessels "showed up" to pull the boys off the beach and certain fate. The EPA, US Coast Guard and any other obfuscating, inappropriate. and unpatriotic minions of a pathologically oblivious administration STAND ASIDE . and let those with a will to stake all to fix this monstrosity to postarity do what they feel compelled to do to take responsibility. The only laws that need pertain are those deliniated by Admiralty Salvage Law. and the International Maritime Rules of the Road. The Right of Salvage will enable all salvors to be compensated by the sale of that what they salvage. The "Rules of the Road" will prevent collisions.

    32. Richard Harvey (New says:

      .As each day passes with an inforced inadequate response it becomes progressively apparent that the implications of the Gulf Oil Hemorage transcend any national or corporate jurisdiction. It is just a matter of time, current, and weather before the dead zone of crude and biocidal disbursent makes its way around fla. into the Gulf Stream., and the Atlantic Commons. There for vessels of any flag should be preemtively deployable to the Gulf. There should in fact be an economic shift from clean up liability to salvage opportunity. Mr.Motts suggestion that any and all vessels particpate in salvage.is a sound one. It can lead to a Gulf region oil salvor rush. That will get the Job done. Small vessels can off load onto bigger vessels and receive a fungable receipt for their contribution, The whole deal can be self capitalizing and then some…

    33. Ian Mott, Brisbane, says:

      You are dead right, Richard. Turning problems into opportunities is what free markets do. To paraphrase the old Bob Dylan song, "they do what they must do, and they do it well, they do it for you, everybody can't you tell". It doesn't need a plan and it doesn't need regulations. All it needs is for the government goons to pull their heads in and a few guys in a bar or outside the school gates bragging about the money they made on a weekend out on their trailer boat will do the rest.

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