Fishermen receive special training to help with oil spill - - The News for South Mississippi

Fishermen receive special training to help with oil spill


By Jessica Bowman – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - British Petroleum hopes coast fishermen can help in the oil spill clean up effort. Sunday, BP had representatives in South Mississippi for a training session.

Many boat owners are ready to work, but they're also skeptical about signing a contract. Commercial fisherman Chris Balius said he's afraid he may be signing his rights away for further compensation.

"Without proper legal representation that they can't bring two and 300 people together and say you need to sign this contract and turn it back in so you can go to work," Balius said.

O'Brien's Response Management, who is contracted out by BP, hosted the training seminar. O'Brien's Fishing Vessel Coordinator Vince Mitchell said during a spill response, a variety of jobs and vessels are needed. And for those jobs to be filled, the contract must be signed.

"We will enter that into a database and based on that database for vessels to be selected will depend on the need for the response activity," Mitchell said.

"We want a fair contract. We want a contract that provides what they're going to do for us and what we're going to do for them," Balius said.

There is a reimbursement to those who do sign and turn their contract in.

"For vessels greater than 45 feet is $2,000 per day. For vessels 30 to 45 feet is $1,500 per day. Vessels less than 30 feet $1,200 per day," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said signed contracts are not a guarantee of work. Boat owners must have a signed contract, the required four hour training course and a Coast Guard Dockside Vessel Examination to be considered.

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