Increasing environmental problems highlight the need to lessen damages to seas resulting from spills and discharge of oil and petroleum products. In case of nearshore and offshore oil spills, a thin oil layer has to be skimmed off from the sea surface either by self-floating oil skimming equipment or by oil spill recovery ships. In this paper, self-floating oil skimming equipment is studied and an oil spill recovery vessel appropriate for coastal waters is developed. Initially, an oil skimmer composed of oleophilic disks is investigated. This system, as is known from the various skimming applications around the world, operates by making use of the adhesive properties of oil. A prototype of this skimmer is constructed and then series of experiments are carried out to determine the parameters that can be used in the design process. Secondly, a new oil recovery system is presented which utilizes principle of suction and density differences. The system presented differs from its counterparts in that it speeds up the gravity-separation in the settling tank into which the oil-water mixture is taken with high rates of flow. An experimental model for this system is constructed and tested. The preliminary tests revealed that a system with high rates of oil recovery is possible.

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