Giant oil skimmer being tested in Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A converted tanker billed as the world's largest oil skimmer is being tested in the Gulf of Mexico, where officials hope it will scrub millions of gallons of oil-tainted seawater.

Frank Maisano, spokesman for the Taiwanese shipping firm that owns the vessel, dubbed "A Whale," confirmed Saturday that tests have begun.

The Coast Guard says testing will take 48 hours.

Officials want to verify the ship can make good on its promise of sucking up as much as 21 million gallons of oil-fouled water per day.

The shipping firm TMT Group retrofitted the oil tanker after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 workers and began what is now the largest oil spill in the Gulf's history.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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