Oil spill technology gains further acceptance internationally



AllMaritim AS, Bergen, Norway


The NOFI Current Buster and Harbour Busters are both designed to be towed in fast waters or at significantly higher towing speeds than conventional oil booms which will fail, i.e. the encountered oil will escape below the skirt at 0.7 to 0.9 knot. Both the Current Buster and the Harbour Buster have been tested at the US Ohmsett test tank in oil at towing speeds ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 knots and with insignificant losses of diesel (Harbour Buster) and regular oils (Current Buster).

The Harbour Busters and Current Busters are in regular operation as far apart as Korea and Alaska, US. In addition to scientific test verifications, real life oil spills have proven the superior oil containment and safe temporary storage capability of these Buster systems.

Most recently the Current Busters were deployed with great success during the ‘Server’ heavy fuel oil spill outside Bergen, Norway in January 2007 and during the not so well published ‘Uscumacinta’ oil rig spill in the Campeche Bay, Mexico in October 2007.

M/S Server

After the fore-ship of the M/S Server had been placed in a safe haven and been discharged with remaining oil (mostly bunker oil), it was to be towed to a repair yard. When the tow started up it turned out that oil still leaked from behind the damaged fore-ship.

The Current Buster operated by the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s Emergency Preparedness Dept. was immediately activated and was able to contain most of the leaking oil. Through the use of the Buster’s Separator between three and five m3 of oil was discharged into a barge by means of an available drum skimmer.


In October 2007 PEMEX experienced a collision with their oil rig Uscumacinta. Alpina Briggs from Brasil was contracted for the oil spill clean-up. Due to the adverse operational conditions Alpina Briggs and PEMEX decided to fly in a Current Buster in the beginning of November. According to unofficial reports the Current Buster was in operation from November 29 until December 18, 2007.

In that time it contained an impressive 60 per cent of the total oil recovered. The remaining 40 per cent had been recovered by means of two conventional U-booms. Talks from different PEMEX and the local Navy officials highly praised the efficiency of the Current Buster which, in some circumstances, showed to be the only equipment capable of containing oil in that type of environment.

While conventional oil booms most commonly are being towed by two boats, both the Harbour Buster and the Current Buster can be operated by a single boat when incorporating a socalled ORC Boom Vane. In co-operation with the Swedish maker ORC AB, the Boom Vane was tested in 2007 at STATOILHydro Kaarsto on the Norwegian west coast.

STATOILHydro’s support tug towed the Current Buster on the port guide boom and the Boom Vane suspended behind a jibstay towed the stb side guide boom. The tests were so successful that STATOILHydro now has purchased the Boom Vane. One of the most important benefits of this investment is the elimination of one support tug, making oil spill response considerably more cost effective.

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