Barbour to tour Gulfport shipyard Tuesday afternoon - - The News for South Mississippi

Barbour to tour Gulfport shipyard Tuesday afternoon


By Al Showers – bio | email

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour will be in South Mississippi Tuesday to tour Trinity Yachts in Gulfport. Trinity is one of two Mississippi companies building skimmer boats specifically to help clean the oil from the Gulf.

Monday, eight skimmers from France were delivered to South Mississippi to begin cleanup work. Hancock County leaders were among those happy to see that the boats leased by the state are set to begin work. 

"Some of them are open hulled, others have gates," said Rick Robards, of U.S. Environmental. "The gates open and they just very slowly cruise through the water. The oil comes into the boat from there its pumped from the boat into a holding tank that will be on another vessel." 

The 22 to 30 foot long skimmers, can collect up to 250 gallon of oil before the holding tanks will have to be emptied.

"I had an opportunity to look at them yesterday and they look real good there capacity to be able to just skim without depending on boom or anything else is great," said Brian Adam, Hancock County's Emergency Management Director. 

Adam said the fact that the skimmers can collect oil in deep or shallow open waters, makes them a great asset to have close by.

"Skimming vessel that you don't have to use boom or drag behind a boat then scoop it up. This boat skims it up as it slowly goes through it," said Adam.

"Surely we're encouraged by the fact that we have skimmers mobilized that are accessible to the Bay right now. That's been a huge missing link to the whole process and a grave concern." said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame.

Fillingame also said all of the oil containment devices in the world are useless without a way to collect the oil.

"The boom and fencing and everything else that you can conceive of to corral oil is all a temporary containment structure. Without having the skimming equipment to come right on top of it in an oil event and take the oil away from the boom and all of the collection systems would just be an exercise in futility. So we're encouraged that they've got those deployed on both sides of the Bay."

Work crews spent Monday training on the skimmers boats off and on because of the weather. Their goal is to begin skimming operations off of the barrier islands later this week.

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