Breaking news: BP and US authorities ignored superior Belgian cleanup tech

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.

9 Replies to “Breaking news: BP and US authorities ignored superior Belgian cleanup tech”

  1. The Jones Act does have some peculiarities, but there’s also no reason that the Obama Administration couldn’t have found reason — especially with Congressional approval — to suspend those legal flagging requirements. Call it a “national security” issue… that works for everything else, right? /snark

  2. lol, well said FGD. Now Cheaney’s people want to be the spokesperson for BP. R you kidding me. It amazes me how the US is run now and in the past.

  3. I am not surprised the idea was rejected. If you listen to the congressional testimony of the local government leaders who are the on the ground you realize that this clean-up operation is failing because there is no control and command center capable of vetting good ideas from bad.

    I don’t know what is taking place in the command center that is supposed to be charge of the operation. There is no transparency. Admiral Thad Allen seems to be a good administrator and he communicates well but having BP and the Coast Guard in charge is confusing.

    Where the hell is President Obama? This is shaping up to be a national emergency of the first order and we need leadership. If we view the oil as chemical/biological warfare agent we would be focused on mitigation and public health. When will the FEDS and the STATES respond with a force that equals the problem?

    Focusing on ass kicking the low level jerks that caused the spill is not a dignified or appropriate response. Kicking into action some national security laws and mobilizing appropriate people and leaders is where is foot should go!

  4. So we continue to watch and wait with no progress. Tar balls on Orange Beach and even a large BP on Panama City Beach yesterday. We have a marine biologist who is trying to rescue as many of the marine life as possible, but has run out of funds and space. He approached BP, but of course, no reply. There is too much talking and waiting on people who seem to know nothing about clean-up. Meanwhile local citizens are cleaning it up with shovels and bags and rudimentary devices. Where are the clean up crews that were promised? Where are the skimmers that were promised?

  5. It’s even worse than that. Maybe it has something to do with allowing a private company to run the cleanup after they already showed to be incapable of doing so?

    Three days after the accident began a Dutch offer of help was relayed via official government channels. This offer was based on demonstrated expertise and ranged from equipment (via specialized marine contractors Boskalis and Van Oord, basically the only competitors the Belgium companies mentioned above have) and technical expertise (Deltaris among others). Like with huricane Katrina all help was rejected without even a thought (rejected in favour of local companies with completely different equipment and no experience).

    Eventually the US government (not BP) accepted the Dutch government offer of skimming booms (owned by the Dutch government in case an oil spill occurs, the Netherlands will now commission new equipment for Dutch use, let’s hope nothing happens here the next months). Any other help is still rejected.

    As a note on the side: in the Netherlands the government takes over if after 12hrs a companies response is inadequate ór if a company is unprepared in the first place. The company will foot the full bill.

    Here’s an overview of the available equipment. Everything can be in action within one hour.

  6. The US ”phychological” blocage for foreign help is not new :

    As early as January 2001, the Solar Club of CERN (the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, “where the web was born”: ) has built a efficient twin drum oil skimmer (nicknamed DOROTHEE) for the Galapagos-archipelago’s oil spill. DOROTHEE was successfully tested in the CEDRE ( ), measured Recovery Rate: 63 barrels/h of oil (1’500 barrels/day) with less than 5% residual water ! But “our” (I speak in name of the Solar Club) assistance in the Galapagos hasn’t been accepted, despite direct contact white the Darwin Foundation. We learned that US representatives had some objections for European help… We thought that the Galapagos-archipelago’s are the propriety of Equator (?)

    Now again, since 1 month we have already fill 5 different official (from the US) “application forms” for a FREE help in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Of course, like al the other foreign offers, our submissions stay always without any answer.

    Whatever the reason of his silence, the “John act” or may be “bad placed pride”, our Solar Club is a non-profit association without any commercial ambition (nothing to sale)! With “DOROTHEE” (who’s not a foreign boat just a efficient oil skimmer device able to work together with US vessels), we wish just allow helping free the US. The Solar Club of CERN hopes, but now doubts, that it can facilitate and accelerate the US acceptance (after soon 3 months that pouring ”Dark Matter” in the Gulf).

    But certainly, on the next international conference for the Environment, the US will make a great discourse and give lessons about what we must do on this topic… But he forgot that “The Solution of the Pollution is Not the Dilution” (by toxic dispersants who try to “hide the mess under the mat”): What in the beginning was a two-dimensions or surface oil pollution (recoverable immediately by skimming) is now a three-dimensions contamination of the whole volume of the Gulf of Mexico who now will slowly rejecting tar balls for years on the shores…

    On the CERN Bulletin, below the solar car topic, see a little video of our oil skimmer DOROTHEE ). Contact : [email protected]

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