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The US government is pinning its latest cleanup hopes on a huge new piece of equipment as hurricane-whipped waves push more oil onto the Gulf of Mexico's once-white beaches.
A massive, newly-retooled supertanker is now in the Gulf of Mexico. Its owner claims the vessel can skim millions of liters of oily water each day.
With residents of four states complaining about the lack of skimming vessels off their shores, the 10-story tall, 340-meter long behemoth -- called "A Whale"--could be an enormous boon to the region.
The ship takes in contaminated water through 12 vents on either side of the bow. The oil is then separated from the water and transferred to another vessel.
Owned by shipping firm from Taiwan, the vessel was completed as a tanker earlier this year in South Korea. But after the Gulf spill, it was ordered to be changed into a giant skimmer.
The vessel was sent to Portugal for the refit and arrived Wednesday in Louisiana coastal waters. Government and BP officials are going to run tests shortly to see if it actually works.
Officials expect the vessel will be connected soon, but the coast guard says the choppy conditions are too perilous for now. They have to wait till next week.