skimmersA number of options are available to respond to marine oil spills. The primary technique adopted by many government authorities is mechanical recovery of oil from the sea surface.

This is usually achieved by use of booms to concentrate spilt oil, allowing a skimmer to selectively recover and pump the oil to storage. Many different types of skimmer exist with designs optimised to deal with different scales of operation, oil types and environmental conditions.

The intended use and expected operational conditions should then be identified, for example whether the skimmer is to form an integral part of a vessel-mounted, offshore recovery system or is to be deployed manually in a port or on a shoreline.

Once these are established, other criteria such as size, robustness and ease of operation, handling and maintenance can be evaluated.