The 'A-Whale' may just be the largest open water oil skimmer on the planet. This is large not just on the scale of 'slightly larger then the next guy' but is truly massive. Some perspective; in the more than two months since the oil spill we have skimmed 600k barrels of oil. The A-Whale is supposed to be able to skim 500k a day. Not only is the beast of a machine not in the fight, but the Coast Guard and EPA are not yet sure they are willing to let it join in the efforts.
"The A-Whale bills itself as the largest open-water oil skimmer in the world, and it’s at least very impressive. Originally an oil and ore tanker, the ship’s owners recently refitted the ship to do exactly the kind of work that the US so desperately needs in the Gulf of Mexico, and to do it on a vastly larger scale than current operations can handle. According to the ship’s project manager, the entire American effort in 66 days has skimmed off 600,000 barrels of oil. The ship’s owners claim that A-Whale can skim 500,000 barrels a day.
So where is the A-Whale now? In the Gulf? Not yet. It’s on its way there after being tied to a dock in Norfolk, Virginia, and won’t be allowed to join the cleanup effort until the Coast Guard and the EPA figure out whether it meets their standards"