Trinity Yachts delivers first oil skimmer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Trinity Yachts delivers first oil skimmer

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Trinity Yachts has delivered the first oil skimmer ordered by the State of Mississippi. The Gulfport company is building 15 oil skimmers in all: five for the state and 10 for BP.

Those in charge of fighting the oil said the new skimmers are a "tremendous asset". Trinity Yachts signed the contract to build the skimmers just 20 days ago.

Some are calling the fleet of Mississippi-built skimmers, "Haley's Navy". After all, it was Governor Haley Barbour who saw the desperate need for more skimmers and placed the order for them to be built.

 A company best known for building luxury yachts delivered the first oil skimmer to the DMR and DEQ on Tuesday morning. The 28-foot belt skimmer will soon be at work in the Mississippi Sound.

"These are controlled by the state. They will be put to work where the state deems the most important areas to work. We'll be doing it in conjunction with unified command. But this is a tremendous asset to protect our Mississippi waters," said Dr. Trudy Fisher, executive director of the DEQ.

Trinity Yachts CEO, John Dane, says he's proud the company can play a role in fighting the oil intrusion and proud of his employees who've been working seven days a week on the oil skimmer project.

"You know, it does make us feel good to do what we can to protect our shoreline. We all want to get back out there on the water and have clean water, so we can fish, sail and play on the water," said Dane.

The skimmer removes oil from the water by way of a conveyer belt. The front end of the belt is lowered into the water. Different fabrics can be used on the conveyer, depending on whether its scooping up tar balls or oil sheen.

"Once the conveyer belt picks it up, it drops it off the back here, and it kind of gets scraped off the back and falls into a collection tank," said Dane.

The DMR director likes the versatility of these oil fighting vessels. Dr. Bill Walker says, if weather permits, the skimmers can work around the barrier islands.

"But they can also work in very shallow water. So, if for whatever reason the oil material gets in close to our beaches and our marshes, we can work in two feet of water with these vessels," said Dr. Walker.

Trinity has a contract to build 15 oil skimmers, five for the state and 10 for BP. The next vessel should be ready in about two weeks. After that, a new one will be delivered every five or six days.

"This is a tremendous addition to our effort to keep oil out of the Mississippi Sound," said Fisher.

Trinity Yachts has a four million dollar contract to build the oil fighting boats.

Following a final day of training on Wednesday, the first skimmer will be deployed from the Long Beach harbor on Thursday.

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