Saturday, August 13, 2011

OIL SPILLS: Extreme Spill Technology to locate in Penobsquis, NB

A beach after an oil spill.Image via WikipediaThe Bay of Fundy is wide open to an oil spill catastrophe because of the ship traffic, in particular the oil tankers entering Saint John. Since oil spills are almost always the result of human error they cannot be eliminated even by building the safest facilities. Turbulent weather, fog and fast currents increase the risk.

The whole world for the past forty years has been using the same oil spill mitigation technology that was largely developed in the 1970's. Most people don't realize that these techniques and equipment have never worked on any ocean, much less a dangerous body water like the Bay of Fundy. The worldwide average for successful oil spill recovery is 0-5%. In fact, the oil spill technology is so inadequate that the Canadian Coast Guard only requires that it function in Force 4 conditions (Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved). This is called a perfect day on the Bay of Fundy.

The BP spill last year demonstrated the world's experts giving it their best shot, backed by unlimited funding. BP spent $8 billion on skimming and cleaning with over 1,000 skimmer vessels and 48,000 workers. They recovered 3% of the oil. In-situ burning (polluting) processed 5% of the oil and created havoc with marine life destroyed in the fires. Dispersants "processed" about 8% and created a toxic sludge that coated the bottom. In-situ burning and dispersants are acts of desperation, not solutions. The industry has no idea how to remove the oil from the sea so they do things that would land them in jail in any other situation. What happened last year in the Gulf of Mexico is what's in store for the Bay of Fundy, only far worse because our northern waters are fierce in comparison.

The current situation of equipping a large tug or escort ship with conventional equipment is unworkable. This video shows what happened in Norway in July, 2009 when a small, empty cargo ship spilled its fuel oil. 200 km of coastline was wrecked . The ship could handle a hurricane but the oil spill equipment costing over $1 million could only handle a millpond. Another excellent video can be seen here .

There is one way we can now improve the situation. Extreme Spill Technology (EST) has developed oil skimming ships suitable for rough seas and fast currents. The Canadian Coast Guard considers it the first truly innovative approach in forty years. Escort tugs in Saint John based on the EST 70m skimmer ship could react immediately to an oil spill even in bad weather. Details can be seen here . EST will soon be manufacturing at a new facility in Penobsquis, NB.
David Prior
CEO, Extreme Spill Technology
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Beijing, China
Mobile: (902) 441-8284 / China 136 6135 9474 <>

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