A Coast Guard cutter from Eastern Carolina has begun its second month deployed to the Gulf Of Mexico helping with the huge oil spill.
The Cutter Elm, home ported in Atlantic Beach, is equipped with a Spilled Oil Recovery System, and has skimmed over 100,000 gallons of product from the Gulf of Mexico.
While the SORS system was originally designed to be a quick response to small scale near-shore oil spills, the crew of the Elm has adapted the skimmer system. It now offloads the oil directly into a barge that's alongside.
“Equipping the Elm with the barge has dramatically increased the amount of oil we can collect in a day,” said Commander John Kennedy, Elm’s Commanding Officer. “At first we were limited to about three hours of skimming per day, and spent the next six to eight hours offloading skimmed oil. When using the barge we can remove up to five times as much oil from the water as compared to that available through shipboard storage tanks.”
The Elms is one of five other seagoing buoy tenders helping out with the cleanup. They're part of 64 aircraft, 400 skimmers, 500 barges, 2,500 government and contract vessels right now in the gulf.