Skimmers represent a variety of mechanical equipment used to physically remove floating spills from the water surface. Many designs use a “conveyor belt”, placed to carry the spilled oil into a reservoir where it is collected for processing and recovery. Other skimmer technologies use suction to remove spilled material, while weir skimmers use gravity to gather skimmed oil into underwater storage tanks. Skimmers are generally effective only in calm water, and suction skimmers are susceptible to clogging by floating debris.

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