Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Robots to Help With Oil Mess

Japanese company Fukada Salvage and Marine Works Co. Ltd. are expected to bring on underwater robots to help with the salvage of the M/T Solar I in Guimaras province Philippines.

The M/T Solar I sank August 11 spilling millions of liters of oil into the sea. It is not clear if oil has stopped leaking from the vessel that sits on the bottom at a depth of 640 meters (2,100 feet).

The robots will be used to first find the ship then to hook-up and suck the remaining oil out of it. There could be almost 2 million liters (50,000+ gallons)of bunker oil - oil used for fuel rather than cargo - left in the tanks.
If the ship is sitting upright then the robots can connect lines to the valves and drain the tanks. If the valves are blocked then they can cut a hole and "hot tap" the tanks to connect a drain hose.
After the oil is drained salvage workers will attempt to raise the ship.

The local government and residents are irate that the ship has been allowed to sit and spew oil. Some are calling for a boycott of Petron Oil who had the ship under contract. Petron is majority owned by Philippines governement. The ship was owned by Sunshine Maritime Development Corp.

Side note:

To me, it seems that this disaster has gotten very little publicity. The spill has reportedly destroyed 220 kilometers (136 miles) of the Guimaras coastline and displaced up to 26,000 people. The economy of this area depends on fishing and tourism so this contamination of the coast is truly devastating. Earlier this week the governor of the province was calling on citizens to donate materials to be used to make booms to contain the oil and prevent the damage from spreading. Where is the worldwide response to this type of disaster?

The people of Guimaras are asking for help. They have set up a web page Project Sunrise to keep people posted on what is happening and to let the world know how they can help.

It is widely known that the quicker an oil spill can be contained the less the damage. It seems that every major oil spill spreads out of control and kills hundreds of square miles of ocean before anyone does anything. This problem is not going to go away. I think the UN should sponsor an emergency response team to rush to any oil spill in the world to help minimize the damage. That's what I think.
Someone should invent some robots to contain the spill when they happen then to clean up the mess afterward.



Blogger Glenn Kilpatrick said...

what a terrible mess. It is a disaster for the local marine environment. Lets hope they get it cleaned up soon.

Kind regards - Glenn Kilpatrick

12:43 PM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Glenn Kilpatrick said...

Whitby Fishing Gallery

12:45 PM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Communist Robot said...

It’s crazy that I read of this tragedy first at a robot news site and not from a news-news site. Very well presented and thank you for bringing this to my attention.

I posted an article on my site linking back to yours.

7:21 PM, August 28, 2006  

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