Mini-skimmer for shallow water oil spills

Oil skimmer on Faster 650 Cat (Photo: NordlandHansa) Oil skimmer on Faster 650 Cat (Photo: Nordland Hansa)

The Central Coastal Command for Maritime Emergencies (CCME) in Germany has put a shallow-water oil skimming system into service on a flotilla of multi-purpose boats and will equip more.

The CCME has installed the SeaHow MiniBagger oil spill systems from Finland’s Meritaito-SeaHow in Helsinki onto six 7.5m Faster 650 Cats, supplied by Nordland-Hansa in Rostock.

The CCME’s Michael Friedrich told Maritime Journal the systems were being fitted on three further catamarans during 2016. They were acquired by the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) in Berlin, which provides global technical and humanitarian aid. The CCME is responsible for oil spill response equipment and services in Germany.

The MiniBagger is the smaller of two detachable side collection systems from SeaHow and is described as a flexible and cost efficient way of improving oil spill recovery in harbours, rivers, canals and other shallow or narrow water areas. It can be installed on boats as small as 5m by just two people without a crane or special tools.

The skimmer comprises an aluminium sweeping arm fitted to one or both sides of the boat, a power unit and a SmartSacker collection system frame on the boat deck. All elements are connected by hose.

A single hydraulic side system has a sweeping width of 2.5m, weighs 106kg and can collect 10 m3 of heavy oil an hour. SeaHow said a maximum 950 l of oil can be taken on board. The MiniBagger is also able to collect 6 m3 of light oil light using a brush skimmer with a mobile 6.3kW power pack and a patented oil scraper. Easily stored on shore, it can be deployed quickly, SeaHow said.

CCME Deputy Director Dirk Baake said the MiniBagger system was “an ideal complement to our existing fleet” and meant “we can now also effectively combat oil spills in shallow waters and close to ports  areas which cannot be reached by sea-going oil combat ships or shore-based equipment”, he added.

The group’s nine Faster 650 Cats are each powered by two 80hp Suzuki outboards developing up to 33knots. They are 2,45m wide, made of marine aluminium, weigh 1180kg and have 1.3m wide bow hatches.

Michael Friedrich also stressed CCME satisfaction with them and said they “closed the gap” between sea and shore oil spill combat. It was important for the group, he said, to have boats with a high load capacity and very small draught. Catamarans rather than monohull vessels were chosen because they were less likely to capsize during a wide range of coastal oil spill support work such as material and personnel transport and the laying of oil booms. The THW also uses Finnish Faster series boats elsewhere in Germany for similar multi-purpose tasks.

By Tom Todd

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