Due to the increasing need to protect its coastline from the BP oil spill, the state of Mississippi has ordered more than 20 new belt skimmer boats, some of which are being built by Trinity Yachts.
Specifically, Trinity Yachts’ Gulfport facility will build nine belt skimmers, all measuring 30 feet LOA. The rest of the vessels are being built at Overing Yachts, also in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will oversee the boats’ operation, with the state maintaining ownership. Some will be put into service as early as next week, with all completed and in operation by August 1.
Gov. Haley Barbour made the announcement Saturday, adding that BP would be responsible for paying for the cost of design and construction. “People should know we have considerable more oil outside the barrier islands, and the amount is increasing,” he explained.
According to the MDEQ, belt skimmer boats are the best vessel type to address the oil spill, able to gather oil of varying consistencies and types. Oil sheen, mousse (the consistency of sludge), and patties (clumps or blobs) have been found in various locations in Mississippi waters, as well as in Floridian waters, with more expected. Another advantage to the belt skimmers: They can operate in deep or shallow water.