The exciting conclusion to Ed’s post from last weekend: It’s finally, finally here … and of course immediately there’s a snafu. As you’ll see, it’s designed to vacuum up fresh oil, which means it’ll have to be placed near the leak, which is a problem because it’s gi-normous and that area’s already congested. To which I say: Clear a path.

While the ship may be ready to work, it still has some bureaucratic hurdles to jump and tests to pass before the Coast Guard allows it to join the fight in the Gulf…

Nungesser says it’s time for “A Whale” to pull up anchor and get to work.

“Somebody, rode up the road this morning they said, just think of all that oil we’re picking up out of the marsh could be in that vessel. I said you’re right. Instead, we got people out there slopping in this rain with vacuum cleaners. They just don’t get it still.”…

According to the vessel’s owner, the ship’s skimming capacity is at least 250-times that of the fishing boat fleet now conducting skimming operations in the Gulf.

Like Ed noted, as of Sunday, the ships on the scene had skimmed a grand total of 600,000 or so barrels since the rig first exploded. The A-Whale can do 500,000 a day. To borrow a phrase, this is the moment when the rise of the oil in the ocean begins to slow and our gulf begins to heal. Exit question: Is it okay to feel ever so slightly optimistic about this? The bureaucracy will find some way to screw it up, right?

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