G l a d d i n g Hearn Delivers Largest Self-Propelled U.S. Skimmer To Clean Sound

The North Sounder, reported to be tB8* largest self-propelled oil-spill skimmer in the U.S., was placed in service recently in Seattle, Wash., for the protection of Puget Sound waters by Clean Sound, an organization of 13 petroleum industry companies.

The North Sounder will be based in Bellingham, Wash.

The 73-foot vessel joins a fleet of smaller skimmers, auxiliary boats, and barges Clean Sound has stationed at ports throughout Puget Sound.

Unlike other skimmers operated by Clean Sound which have unique or bulky profiles, the North Sounder looks like a small Coast Guard buoy tender. When operating in its oil-spill recovery mode, the vessel's bow opens to reveal an escalator-like ramp leading from under the water surface and into the mid-hull area of the boat.

The North Sounder is designed to recover 90 percent of an oil spill at rates up to 500 gpm. Its onboard recovered oil capacity is 12,000 gallons.

"With this addition to the equipment pool," reported John Wiechert, manager of Clean Sound, "our oil industry members have invested more than $6 million in equipment in the Puget Sound area to assure a rapid and effective response to any oil spill in the waters of the Sound and Washington's coastal waters." The value of the new skimmer alone exceeds $1.6 million, and represents the largest single investment by Clean Sound.

"Because of the North Sounder's proven seaworthiness, Clean Sound can plan for recovery of spilled oil in our state's offshore waters," Mr. Wiechert noted.

Several design changes developed by the Clean Sound staff have been incorporated in the North Sounder. The most significant is an improved method of recovering oily debris. The debris catching and handling system was designed to cope with materials such as logs, branches, kelp, eel grass, and other floating debris.

The North Sounder was designed by JBF Scientific Corporation of Wilmington, Mass., which has designed and delivered more than 100 oil-skimming vessels, including 50 harbor skimmers for the Navy. Clean Sound's new skimmer is a JBF model DIP 5001A. Representing JBF at the ceremony in Seattle was Ralph A. Bianchi, president.

JBF's oil recovery system utilizes the natural propensity of oil to float on water that "forces" a mechanical separation of surface oil from the water. A dynamic inclined plane (DIP) in the bow of the vessel forces oilcoated water into a collection well in the vessel's hull under the surface level. The DIP's moving belt pushes the oil lower than its natural level, gravity then separates it, and the oil wells-up inside the vessel into a collection tank. Recovered oil is continuously pumped from the collection tank area to onboard holding tanks or by flexible hose to a trailing oil barge.

The vessel was constructed by Gladding-Hearn, of Somerset, Mass. A contract was let in late 1981, and the vessel was completed in November 1982.

Because of its traditional hull design, the North Sounder can respond to a spill at speeds up to 10.6 knots. During normal oil skimming operations, it runs at 1 to 2 knots in conditions up to Sea State 3. It can work alone or with long containment booms attached to its bow and towed in a "V" configuration to funnel slicks of oil to the recovery system.

A unique feature of the design is an auxiliary control station at the bow above the oil recovery machinery which allows operation of the vessel while monitoring the recovery.

The recovery system consists of two conveyor units. The debris collection unit is a stainlesssteel conveyor that leads up to debris collection equipment. The oil-handling unit is a powered 6 - f o o t - w i d e by 371-.-foot-long polyvinylchloride belt which loads oil into the vessel's cargo tanks.

The belt is driven by a Char-Lynn hydraulic motor. The DIP conveyor is located in the forward half of the hull, behind the debris conveyor.

The handling system for the recovered oil is a progressing cavity screw pump type, a Moyno model 1JOKS1-CDQ. It has a 500-gpm capacity with a speed of zero to 350 rpm and is driven by a Sundstrand hydraulic motor.

The vessel has a length of 73 feet, beam of 20 feet, draft (full load) of 6 feet 3 inches, and displacement of 130 tons. The two main engines, each driving a Federal 42-inch four-blade propeller through a Twin Disc 3:1 reductor gear box, are Caterpillar model 3408 DITA units rated at 365 hp each.

Manpower for the North Sounder as well as other skimmers and specialized spill recovery equipment is provided on contract by Foss Launch & Tug Co.

Equipment is stationed in Seattle, Tacoma, Anacortes, Blaine, Bellingham, Edmonds, and Port Angeles.

Clean Sound is an unincorporated, nonprofit, joint venture of oil and oil transportation companies.

Members are: American Tar Company, Atlantic Richfield Company, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., Foss Launch & Tug Company, Mobil Oil Corporation, Olympic Pipe Line Company, PRI Northwest, Inc., Shell Oil Company, Texaco Inc., Time Oil Company, Transmountain Oil Pipeline Corp., Union Oil of California, and U.S. Oil & Refining Company.

Since its founding in 1971 as one of the nation's first regional organizations of its type, Clean Sound has served as a model in the development of spill recovery techniques, technical requirements for equipment designs, and of industry training programs.

A four-page brochure is available describing Clean Sound. For a free copy, Write 5 2 on Reader Service Card

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 36,  Mar 1983

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