As Arctic Melts, a Race to Test Oil Spill Cleanup Technology
As ice melt opens the Arctic to exploration and shipping, researchers are testing drones, sensors, skimmers, and dispersants for tackling oil spills in icy waters.
Some of the new technology, which included military-style drone aircraft and an unmanned underwater vehicle dubbed the Jaguar by its developers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was designed to hunt and track oil trapped in or under ice. Other devices, such as oil skimmers and ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), were more robust Arctic versions of tools that took center stage during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest maritime oil spill in U.S. history.
The infamous BP blowout has cast a long shadow over the industry, leaving many wondering if the Coast Guard (USCG) and the oil industry really are ready to deal with a big spill in the Arctic, where the weather