BP Oil Spill: World's Largest Oil Skimmer Arrives in Gulf of Mexico

Still, it's never been tried before with a ship of this size. It's a high-cost, high-stakes experiment, and Su, the owner of the ship, simply decided to do it on a whim. He retrofitted the tanker and sent it to the Gulf on his own dime. The ship sailed to the Gulf with no prior permission from BP or the Coast Guard to help in the cleanup effort.

What Motivates Mysterious Billionaire?

Nobu largely was unknown out of shipping circles, and the crew offered little explanation as to his motivation.

"He's a great guy," offered Radhakrishnan.

With so much oil in the Gulf and so much pressure to clean it up, federal officials certainly hope that his idea will work.

"We have high hopes for anything that can be effective down there," said Adm. Allen.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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