This just in: the Belgians offered to bring superior cleanup technology to the Gulf, but were ignored by BP and US authorities. From Flanders Today:
The Belgian dredgers say that the entire operation could have been executed much more rapidly using the sophisticated vessels that they have. Jan De Nul and DEME proposed to BP that their fall pipe vessels be used, which are unique ships equipped with a two kilometre long fall pipe that are normally used to dump rock at great depths when laying pipelines on the seabed. ‘The diameter of the pipe on such a ship is much broader than the funnel BP is now using to suck up the oil,’ says Noel Pille of Jan De Nul. ‘That means we can collect more oil, which can be pumped underwater into an oil tanker. Moreover, at the bottom of the fall pipe there is a type of unmanned submarine, which can perform tasks at great depths. With our assistance the entire process could have been speeded up greatly.’
The Belgian companies blame American egotism and the 1920 Jones Act, prohibiting foreign dredging companies from operating in US waters.