Bob Grantham, spokesman for TMT Shipping Offshore, offered the following statement today, July 4, 2010, regarding the status of the A Whale project:
"Today, the A Whale is again underway with skimming operations just north of the Macondo well site. As was the case yesterday, the sea state - with waves at times in excess of ten feet - is not permitting optimal testing conditions. Indeed, these conditions essentially have sidelined the rest of the Gulf skimmer fleet. Once the effects of Hurricane Alex on wave action have sufficiently passed, we will be able to test skimming operations with an important boom system deployed to draw and direct more oily water in the direction of the A Whale's intake jaws.
"Yesterday did allow us to demonstrate the maneuverability of the vessel. With a ship so large - the largest ever to engage in skimming operations - it is important to be able to position with speed and accuracy. A Whale's design allows for the surprising sailing speed of some 17 knots and its multiple thrusters allow for rapid re-positioning in all directions. The ship reflects state of the art for its size and class, having been constructed by one of the international leaders in shipbuilding, Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea.
"After data is fully collected and analyzed, we will be able to make a more complete report in coming days. For now, the officers and crew of the A Whale and the whole TMT Shipping Offshore team are hard at work and wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day."