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Home > Resources & Publications > Newsletters & Magazines > Chenier Ecology > 2010 > 5-10

Resources & Publications:  Chenier Ecology

May 2010

Oil Spill – Fisheries Issues

As of this writing, oil from the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon incident has not yet reached the shores of western Louisiana. However, fishermen are encouraged to make preparations in case it does. Fishermen are urged to begin locating and compiling past and recent landings and income documents in case of a fishery closure.  In the event of a closure or any loss of income due to the spill, a claim can be made by contacting BP at www.bp.com/iframe.do?categoryId=9033722&contentId=7062138, or by calling the toll-free claims line 1-800-440-0858. The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Personnel at the Claims Line will provide each caller with information on how to submit a claim.
  • Each claim will be assigned to an adjuster and the claim will promptly be investigated and evaluated.
  • Larger and more complex claims may require additional investigation and documentation prior to evaluation and resolution.
  • BP will pay resolved claims promptly. 

As part of BP's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program was designed and implemented to provide local boat operators an opportunity to assist with response activities, including transporting supplies, assisting wildlife rescue and deploying containment and sorbent boom.

To qualify for the program, boat operators and crew must meet several key requirements, including completing four hours of training, passing a U.S. Coast Guard dockside examination and meeting crewing requirements based on vessel size. Vessels must also be certified as safe, which may include inspection prior to activation. Once qualified and selected for use, vessel operators and crew will be compensated for their assistance. Qualification alone, however, does not guarantee participation.

Only vessel captains and employees that have completed training and meet the requirements are eligible to work in the BP Vessels of Opportunity program. The vessel owner does not need to be the operator or part of the crew. Owners and captains will receive a phone call when they are selected for hire.

Once a vessel is selected, the owner, captain and crew will be paid at pre-agreed rates based on the vessel length. In addition to a daily base amount, each will be eligible for additional compensation based upon the vessel's scheduling. In general, crews on vessels scheduled for day-work will receive eight hours of pay and crews on vessels scheduled to perform nighttime operations will be paid for 12 hours of work. If vessels are scheduled and are not used, the day rate will still be paid. Payment will only be made after notification is provided to a vessel and the vessel reports for duty as requested.

At this time, the need for additional vessels is limited. When new opportunities become available, residents will be notified of new training/induction sessions. These sessions are for vessel owners, captains and crews and will be posted on www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com. In the meantime, commercial boat owners are encouraged to continue their ordinary routines and/or file a claim for commercial losses if their business has been impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Louisiana vessels who have been activated and have not received further guidance through follow-up contact can call 713-422-4554 for a status update. Once activated, owners and deck hands must staff the vessel at all times. If someone is a back-up deck hand, that person can work on another job while not on the payroll.

If an activated vessel breaks down because of assigned work, BP will arrange or pay for repairs. After a vessel finishes its assigned deployment, it will be decontaminated completely.

For additional information, please visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com or telephone 281-366-5511.

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