Under a program initiated by the US Coast Guard (USCG), Shell Development Co. has developed the Zero-Relative Velocity Skimmer (ZRVS) (Abstract No. 24-30285) which can recover spilled oil in currents up to eight knots. Tests of a full-scale mockup of the system gave excellent results up to the test limit of eight knots and in waves up to 2 ft high. Conventional oil skimmers slow down the floating oil relative to the water so that it can be contained and collected. But when the relative velocity of water and skimmer exceeds 1 to 2 knots, turbulence caused by the skimmer's surface piercing equipment leads to oil escaping. The ZRVS combats this by laying twin floating, adsorbent belts on the surface so they move at the same speed as the water and oil relative to the skimmer. With no relative velocity between them, turbulence is removed, allowing the skimmer to operate effectively in fast currents. The skimmer is a 41 ft catamaran, built in three sections so it can be transported in two aircraft and assembled at the port nearest the spill. The first prototype is due to be completed at the USCG shipyard in the summer of 1978.