February 15, 1977 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

Oil Mop's Method Of Cleaning Studied By French Delegation

A delegation of French maritime experts recently visited Oil Mop, Inc. headquarters, Belle Chasse, La. 70037, to learn more about cleaning up oil spills under adverse sea, weather and shore conditions.

The Frenchmen visited New Orleans on a tour sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard as part of the U.S.-France Cooperative Project in Oceanography.

The French delegation, composed of naval, merchant marine and technical experts, was particularly interested in Oil Mop's performance on a major European oil spill last summer.

A f t e r the tanker Urquiola grounded, burned and spilled more than 100,000 tons of Arabian crude oil on the Spanish coast near La Coruna, Oil Mop cleaned up oil pocketed in remote bays fronted by rocky cliffs.

OMI vice president Jerome M.

Medicus said that to his knowledge it marked the first time oil from a major coastal spill had been successfully recovered by a completely seaborne operation.

The cleanup was accomplished— often at rates of 15 tons per hour per recovery unit—in spite of 15- foot tides and six-foot swells, he told the visitors.

Other questions concerned methods of picking up spills during cold weather, a serious problem because petroleum becomes thick and difficult to manage at low temperatures.

Mr. Medicus discussed the company's experience in mopping up a large inland spill in New York last winter in subfreezing temperatures, and also in the St.

Lawrence Seaway.

He credited the company's ability to continue recovering oil under the conditions in Spain and New York to the "floating rope" design of Oil Mop's equipment.

OMI spill recovery equipment recovers oil from the surface of water by running a floating oilattracting rope of polypropylene fibers through the floating oil.

The rope is fastened into a continuous loop that is constantly wrung out and sent back across the surface of the spill.

"The rope mop glides over swells and does not clog, even in congealing oil in cold weather," said Mr. Medicus, "although some conditions may slightly decrease the recovery rate." Oil Mop was established in 1970 and has cleaned up spills in North America, South America, Europe and other parts of the world. The company also manufactures oilwater separators, used primarily to clean the oily water in bilges of ships and industrial effluents.

Other stories from February 15, 1977 issue


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