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

ABC News goes on board Taiwanese billionaire's "Whale" of a ship.

ByABC News
July 1, 2010, 4:51 PM

BOOTHVILLE, La., July 1, 2010 — -- Of the thousands of people who've come forward with big ideas for cleaning up BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, one company has come forward with a giant idea it claims could collect hundreds of thousands of barrels of oily water per day and make a whale of a difference.

The company's massive skimming ship currently floating off the Louisiana shoreline is called, literally, "A Whale," and with good reason. The 1,100-foot long tanker is 10 stories tall, stamped with a blue whale on the side of its bridge, and has been specially retrofitted by its owner, TMT Shipping of Taiwan, to collect oil from the Gulf.

Watch "World News" for more on this story tonight on ABC.

Upon hearing about the oil spill, now the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico, the owner of the ship, mysterious Taiwanese billionaire Nobu Su, ordered his engineers to cut vents in the bow and redesign the tanks inside, creating the largest skimming vessel in the world.

They claim that the monster can do in two weeks what 500 skimming boats have accomplished in two months' time.

"We can effectively skim about 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day," said the ship's captain, Sanio Radhakrishman.

There's no question that more skimming capacity is needed. Skimming boats are still docked because of the effects of Alex, a tropical storm moving over central Mexico.

Near Barataria Bay, La., the state's Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, asserted his frustration with the cleanup efforts, noting that he asked President Obama a month ago for help cutting through the bureaucracy.

"What is frustrating is they just don't get it in Washington, they just don't have a sense of urgency," he said, calling on the federal government to approve his plan to build a barrier of rock pilings to keep the oil at bay. "It is ridiculous when they think rocks in the water are more dangerous than oil."