Two coast companies will increase skimming capacity - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Two coast companies will increase skimming capacity

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Workers in Gulfport are busy almost around the clock at Trinity Shipbuilding, constructing the new belt skimmers.  

John Dane is president of Trinity and keeps a close eye on the work. He said the skimmers will be a big help. 

"What these boats are designed for is shallow water skimming," Dane said. "As the oil gets closer to the beach, they'll be able to go scoop it up and recover that oil." 

George Malvaney is with U.S. Environmental Services, which has partnered with Trinity to oversee the ambitious project.  He calls it a big job, with a tight timetable. 

"We're working very closely with the state of Mississippi," Malvaney said.  "We've been tasked by them to make this happen and it's been a lot of work." 

While this contract is good for the bottom line at Trinity, and good for workers, one thing is even more important: A sense of pride, a sense of helping the coast in one of our times of greatest need. 

Al Cazzeaux has worked at Trinity since 1975, and said this is the most important job he's ever done.   

"I think it's important for the community and to clean up the coast and to get this environment going," Cazzeaux said.  "It's a terrible thing out there with this oil spill." 

For a company that is known for building luxury super yachts that cost upwards of $40 million, this contract may seem tiny. But Dane said it could end up being the most important ever for our coastal way of life.  

"To have a $4 million contract doesn't seem that important, but it really is," Dane said.  "I mean, we're talking about our lifestyle here on the coast. And anything we can do help preserve the way of life we've all grown accustomed to and grown to love here is important to me and all my employees." 

The skimmer boats were first designed and built back in 1989 to respond to the Exxon-Valdez oil disaster in Alaska. 

Another company, Ocean Springs based Overing Yacht Design, is also involved in building the skimmers and is under contract to construct 10 40-foot skimmers in the same time frame.  

The first skimmers should be in operation by Monday of next week.

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