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New kit to clean up oil spills put to test in Belfast Lough

High-tech equipment that cleans oil spills more quickly has been tested in Belfast Lough.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) yesterday carried out a test run of its two new NOFI Current Buster 6s, a boom system developed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

It has bought two pieces of kit which can be deployed anywhere in the UK to tackle oil spills. The boom system tested in Belfast Lough can operate five times faster, due to a V-shaped hydrodynamic design which reduces drag forces and allows it to be towed at greater speeds.

It means the oil spill can be cleared more quickly at sea, cutting down the chances of the pollutants reaching the shoreline, where it is much more costly and difficult to clean up.

The angled boom system can be towed by one vessel, unlike the conventional boom system which has to be manoeuvred by two in unison.

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