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BP oil spill: Will the 'sweeping arm system' from the Dutch help?

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The sweeping arm system involves a delicate and slow-moving skimmer that works on the surface of the water, picking up a top layer of oil and water. It moves the concentrated mix to a storage tank where the water and oil are separated and then the water is pumped overboard.

In a press conference Tuesday, US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen would neither confirm nor deny that the technology would be used in the Gulf oil spill. Allen would only say that recovery officials were “reaching out to the Netherlands, Canada, and Mexico” for technology assistance. “We’re looking at all sources,” he said.

Dutch companies that manufacture the sweeping arm system first contacted BP officials April 23, three days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, according to Mr. Huisman, who spoke by phone from his office in The Hague Tuesday. After receiving little reply, the companies turned to his department for help in reaching out to the US State Department, Huisman says.

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