Thursday, July 8, 2010

M/V A Whale Demystified

Port Townsend, today.
The m/v A Whale has captured the imagination as the "Savior of the Gulf." Until now, not much has been known about her. I place the blame at the foot of the Great American News Machine. The days of "down in the trenches" investigation and fact verification that I was taught as a radio newsman, has gone the way of cheap gas and cigarettes.

She has been "dubbed," news people call her "a whale," there has been tons of wild speculation about how she was built, how many months the conversion to skimmer must have taken, why she sat so long on the Mississippi River, and of course, the Obama Bashers got a shot or two in, stating unequivocally that President Obama was afraid to use her, a foreign flag vessel, for fear of angering the US Merchant Marine.

Oil-Electric "Demystifies" the A Whale

In a press release issued today; "The Taiwanese company TMT Offshore Group that owns a vessel which is now in the Gulf of Mexico trying to help clean up the oil spill has broken its silence on the matter, saying that its efforts are for humanitarian purposes, not for profit." Open the document for the full story. Includes the background on the elusive Mr. Su.

In the case of the m/v A Whale, she was originally built as an OBO, Oil Bulk Ore carrier.

"A Whale" Specifications
Commissioned: January, 2010
Flagged: Liberia
Crew: 32
Length: 1,115 ft
Beam: 196 ft

Draft: 110 ft
GT: 172,146
Main Engine: Warsila 7RT-Flex82T

Auxillary Engine: Hyundai Himsen 8H25/33.6H25/33
Estimated HP: 36,960 BHP
Speed: 15.8 k

We have three videos to share with you, to further demystify the m/v A Whale:

The first video is a tour of the m/v A Whales bridge, narrated by the ships Master as she lay along side the yard at Lisnave Estaleiros Navais S.A., in Setabul, Portugal. This is where she spent 10 days being modified to skim oil. This tape was shot before she left Setabul for Norfolk.

[click on > to start movie 8:35]

One of the issues I had with the vessel, was how did the crew know where the slots were in relation to the water. Well, this tape explains ballast controls, which answer that question.

[click on > to start movie 1:15]

There have been five "Whale" ships built. Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT's) Nobu Su being a private ship owner - not associated with a corporation per se - is having fun with his vessels. There are Whales A thru E, and a few "Elephant" ships that I will share with you later.

[click > to start movie :17]

I mentioned in a previous post, the TMT's chartering office, Great Elephant Corporation with its staff of four, is located in London.

One of my correspondents suggested that Mr. Su doesn't come to the table with clean hands. I had read about his exploits of hiding vessels - taking them off the charter market - to create an artificial shortage of vessels, which would raise day rates on remaining available vessels. I've also discovered that as late as last October, Mr. Su had vessels fuel seized over non-payment of rental fees.

So down there in the Gulf of Mexico, we have a vessel with a colorful name and history, operated by a character with a colorful past, bonding with BP, the ultimate villain.

You can't make this stuff up!

See Also:
A Whale: Super Skimmer or Great White Elephant
Joe Griffin and the Magic Box
Tragedy in the Gulf
A Whale Beached

1 Comments - Click here:

Ken E Beck said...

Nice job getting details on the A whale. The traditional news media did a poor job covering this story. Seems they took the owners statements as gospel. When I first saw the photos of the slots in the bow I thought it was a photo shop joke.

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