Arctic Foxtail ready to tackle polar pollution
The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has taken delivery of a second Arctic Fox Tail mop skimmer from the SPILLRECS division of H Henriksen AS.
Henriksen’s original Fox Tail skimmer was already well-known throughout the maritime industry as being capable of salvaging large quantities of spilled oil in temperatures down to -6°. Because, in common with other pollution recovery systems, it was not effective in extreme sub-zero temperatures, Henriksen has worked with the NCA in developing a winterised version known as the Arctic Fox Tail. Development was concluded late last year and the first unit was delivered to the NCA’s headquarters in Horten in January.
The Vertical Adhesion Band (VAB) deployed by the Arctic Fox Tail is an absorbent 20-metre long continuous loop that lifts polluting oil out of the water, typically from within a boom enclosed area or from between ice floes. The oil is then squeezed out of the VAB and recovered into a tank aboard the operating vessel. Unaffected by obstacles in the water, versions of the Fox Tail can recover oil at up to 9 cubic metres per hour while picking-up only one to five per cent of water in the process.
The development of the Arctic Fox Tail involved a major redesign of the standard VAB and its integrated transfer pump. This required the addition of an insulated cover and a hydraulic heating system. The self-contained heating now enables the Arctic Fox Tail to be fitted aboard any crane-equipped vessel and used to recover oil in temperatures down to -21°C. It is also largely unaffected by sea conditions and can be used in wave heights up to 4 metres thereby significantly expanding the weather window in which oil pollution can be removed.
Commenting on the significance of the new skimmer, Trygve Egenes, Managing Director of Tonsberg-based H Henriksen said; “Operating in the arctic conditions is a challenge in any segment of the maritime industry, as these regions are both inhospitable and environmentally sensitive.” The scope of the NCA’s project was to widen the weather window in which oil can be taken from the water with skimmers. Despite their proven ability, the performance of the old skimmers was very dependent on sea conditions and the weather. Cold weather will reduce their efficiency when ice, mainly from sea spray starts growing on the machines. The new Arctic Fox Tail eliminates this problem and offers a practical and cost-effective solution for any coastal states vulnerable to pollution occurring in extremely cold conditions.
By Jake Frith
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