This paper presents the results of a program, conducted by JBF Scientific, to establish the requirements for, and then to build and test, an open ocean oil recovery system for operation in high wave environments. The paper includes a study of past massive spills so that the operational requirements for the system could be established. A computer assisted investigation was also made to determine the performance characteristics of different length oil skimmers, when operating in high wave environments. After selection of the basic hull size, a complete oil recovery system was designed. This first operational unit was built for the U. S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage, and will be tested in open waters in April 1974.

The approach used was to assume that much of the spill would not be confines dank would have to be pursued. A national survey of past spills was made and showed that solids are universally a problem that must be contended with if the spill is to be effectively cleaned up.

The results of the open ocean spill survey, the computed vessel response, the tow basin model tests, and the scaled tests are presented and a motion picture of the system demonstrations will be shown in conjunction with the paper. The results of the full scale open water tests will be available at the conference.


In the 6 years since TORREY CANYON went aground off the coast of England there has been a considerable amount of research and development conducted on the problem of physically removing oil from the surface of the water. Most of this effort has been applied to inland and harbor waters since oil spills occur much more frequently near shore than in open waters. However, the open water spill cleanup problem has recently become more important because of increased interest in offshore drilling and deep water ports.

In this paper, general guidelines for establishing the design of an open ocean skimmer are developed from data on open ocean spills. The detailed skimmer design requirements are also developed for operation in 3 to 4 foot seas. One-ninth scale tow basin and one-third scale field tests were performed and the results are presented in the paper. The full-scale oil recovery system, which has been fabricated and will be tested in open waters before the paper is presented, is described, Results of the tests will be available at the conference.

The concept which is the basis for the oil skimmer design is called the DIP (Dynamic Inclined Plane). With this concept oil is recovered by forcing it beneath the water?s surface to minimize the effects of waves and vessel response. Because the cO!1cept has been described in previous conferences [1,2, 3], it will not be repeated in this paper.

A full-scale oil recovery system, based upon the analysis presented in this paper, was built for the U. S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage After complete testing and evaluation, it will be utilized by the Navy when called upon to respond to large spills in open waters.

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