As crude oil washes over Gulf beaches, the federal bureaucracy is denying use of effective tools to mitigate damage. Sitting in Norfolk, Virginia, a converted oil tanker is awaiting permission to go to the gulf to help clean up the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon break.
The ship, called the S.S. A-Whale, a giant oil tanker, was built in South Korea, modified in Portugal, is owned by Taiwanese, and flagged in Liberia. Hence its use is stopped by the Jones Act which has yet to be waived to allow foreign ships to help. This ship has the capacity to gather up 500,000 barrels of oil a day from surface waters. To put that in perspective, the current government authorized fleet has taken 70 days to collect 600,000 barrels of oil.
The ship works as a skimmer gathering oil, separating oil from water, storing the oil, and discharging the residue. Trouble is, the residue contains a little more than the 15 parts per million oil that the EPA permits to be discharged. But rules are rules.