More skimmers may be heading to the Gulf

NEW ORLEANS, LA (AP) - A decision is expected shortly on whether as many as 55 additional skimmers can be sent to help clean up oil from a gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. James Watson tells The Associated Press that he expects to begin hearing Friday about whether his request for more skimmers can be filled.

Watson said he wants 10 to 20 more offshore skimmers and 35 additional near shore skimmers.

He said more boats would boost his ability to skim in case a tropical storm forces a shutdown of equipment now trapping oil from the damaged well.

Watson says the Coast Guard has been reluctant to divert skimmers from elsewhere in the country to the Gulf for fear of leaving their homeports vulnerable to oil spills.

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