Israel’s HARBO Technologies, which offers the fastest and most effective oil spill first response system in the world, was omitted in the cleanup exercise of the oil spill damaging the South East coast of Mauritius. “Unfortunately, we were not approached to intervene,” says to aufait, Boaz Ur, CEO of Harbo Technologies. Yet, since August 6, the company offered to mobilize 2.5km of booms to Mauritius and have it on the ground within 24 hours, at a cheaper cost.
Instead of relying on heavy, bulky equipment and a large team of skilled professionals, HARBO‘s T-Series systems can be deployed in minutes by one or two people. “Since August 6, we offered to mobilize 2.5km of booms (100 cartridges) to Mauritius and have it on the ground within 24 hours. These booms could be deployed by local people to protect the coast with its beaches, lagoons, and mangroves, preventing the oil from saturating the shore. Most of the sustainable damage happens when the oil hits these shores and beaches, ” says the CEO and Co-founder of Harbo Technologies to aufait.
The total cost of Harbo’s solution would have been less than 10 percent of what was spent in the first 24 hours in equipment and logistics alone on the shipwreck response, he says.
But the company was not chosen by Mauritius. “Unfortunately, we were not approached to intervene. From the onset of the spill, the focus was the shipwreck. This is still the case to this day. Mauritius and its shorelines, coastal infrastructure, and sensitive areas were not the primary priority on this response. Also, being a new technology, there are many players in the global response industry that still have not heard about us and our solution or don’t understand the full capability of our system. It is an industry that has not seen a lot of research and development in the last 40 years; as such, many of the response strategies and equipment used is dated“, says Boaz Ur.
The unique properties of HARBO’s booms
Harbo’s booms have several unique properties that made them practical for the Mauritius oil spill scenario.
They are packed in a compact and lightweight 20kg cartridges that can be carried by a single person. They can be deployed from any vessel, so any fishing or leisure boat owned by locals could deploy the boom. This prevents the need to bring in larger vessels that may damage the corals.
Harbo’s boom has a 20 cm double skirt (the part under the water level) that prevents the oil from passing under the booms. They don’t have a metal chain on the bottom that can further damage the coral reefs’ sensitive environment. .The cartridges are safe to be deployed by local non-professionals, who can quickly learn how to work with them by watching ta 3-minute video.
Boaz Ur says a country like Mauritius would greatly benefit from having at least 5-10 km of booms (200-400 cartridges) available for an emergency of this magnitude. “The cost would be a fraction of the budgets allocated for oil spill response preparedness in Mauritius over the last few years and provide a true on the ground solution, rapid first response available for immediate deployment when a spill happens.”
Harbo Technologies was named in September 2019, Most Promising Energy and Clean Technology Company, at the 17th Annual Energy & Clean Technology Venture Forum in Houston, USA.