Oil Spill Response

Lamor’s inbuilt oil recovery systems were able to tackle a spill involving bitumen mix, which is extremely difficult to collect.

In heavy fog, a bulk vessel collided with a tanker off the coast of China, causing a breach in the tanker’s cargo tanks. Onboard was about one million barrels of bitumen mix. A preliminary estimate was that about 2,800 barrels were spilled into the sea.


Bitumen is a black, highly viscous form of petroleum. Unrefined, it is unsuitable for exploitation, but it can be combined with fresh water and surfactants to create a mix which is easier to use. This bitumen mix has a density similar to water, so if it is spilled at sea it does not float like petroleum typically does. The entire water column can be polluted.

There is no way to clean such a spill when it has emulsified, and even tracking it can be difficult. Researchers tried laser radar in an experiment to see if they could find where the spill was headed. Within a few weeks the bitumen mix de-emulsified and re-floated. Now at least authorities knew where the spill was, but trying to collect the sticky, nearly solid mass was another challenge.


A massive huge clean-up operation was organised to contain and recover the spill. A defensive line protected a nearby city, tourist beaches and designated wildlife areas. Much of the bitumen was now so solid that the crew used nets to haul some of it by hand out of the water.


Oil spill recovery equipment was also deployed from Lamor as well as others in the industry. It was a difficult job, but the ships equipped with Lamor’s in-built vessel systems not only recovered the bitumen mix, they did it safely and efficiently. 


“It is exciting that Lamor’s in-built system recovers whatever kinds of oil we have met,” said Mr. Zhang Hai Feng, who's in charge of marine machinery on CNPC OSRV.


Lamor LORS Oil Recovery System



Ships supplied with the Lamor In-built Oil Recovery System LORS was used to capture the bitumen mix. The forward motion of the vessel deflects re-floated bitumen from the collection area within the boom into the side of the vessel for processing.


Lamor has a long history of oil spill recovery operations in many different conditions. Under weathering factors, oil coagulates, becoming thick, highly viscous and nearly solid, not unlike de-emulsified bitumen. Lamor’s solutions were especially designed and manufactured to handle thick, solidified oil, but also work with other difficult materials like bitumen mix. Lamor’s equipment is made to be robust and dependable, so its unique stiff brushes technology can recover not only bitumen mix, but other thick and heavy petroleum products as well.


Additionally, it was proven that Lamor solutions effectively and efficiently work in large and complex operations involving a multitude of different equipment and operators.


After about two months of struggle with spilled oil, the end result was the city,  tourist beaches and wildlife areas were preserved, and the bitumen mix was recovered safely and efficiently with effort from all of the people and equipment involved. The end Client was impressed with the performance of Lamor’s in-built system and asked Lamor specialists to confer with them on how to deal with any similar problems in the future.


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Lamor In-Built Recovery System LORS

The system is designed for small workboats up to big vessels.

Operates at vessel speeds of 4 knots, even in harsh weather conditions.

High oil recovery rate with free water content less than 5%.

The system includes Lamor’s proven stiff brush technology.


General Manager, Lamor Beijing

Stephen Zhang

“The Lamor In-built Oil Recovery System LORS really proved its efficiency in this case. It recovered the re-floated bitumen mix despite how difficult the material is to work with.

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