The six opening's (six on each side of the vessel, 12 openings in all) near the bow of the vessel that pulls in the oil. 'A Whale,' is billed as the largest oil skimmer vessel in the world, is 1115 feet long and 196 feet wide and can hold 1 million barrels of recovered oil. The Taiwanese ship is owned and operated by TMT Shipping and will hopefully begin assisting in the clean up effort in the Gulf very soon.
The company is still negotiating with the Coast Guard to join the cleanup and does not have a contract with BP to perform the work. The company also needs environmental approval and waiver of a nearly century-old law aimed at protecting U.S. shipping interests. Environmental Protection Agency approval is required because some of the seawater returned to the Gulf would have traces of oil.
The company says it also needs a waiver of the 1920 Jones Act, which limits the activities of foreign-flagged ships in coastal U.S. waters. Other interpretations conclude that the Jones Act is does not apply to skimming operations outside of 3 miles from shore. Oil skimming outside 3 miles, including near the well 50 miles from shore that is the source of the leak, is completely open to foreign oil spill response vessels. (Daily Press, 6/24/2010, Wavy.com, 6/25/2010)