BP holds first oil response training for Vietnamese fishermen - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

BP holds first oil spill response training for Vietnamese fishermen


By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) – BP hosted a three-hour oil-spill response class at the D'Iberville Civic Center Friday morning. The company has held several training sessions before, but this time, Vietnamese interpreters were on hand.

"We've heard from folks that in some of the other sessions that were conducted in English that there were some language barriers, so we wanted to help overcome that and set this up especially for that purpose," said BP Spokesman Andrew Van Chau.

In the crowd sat more than 100 boat owners, captains and deckhands. They were all worried about the fate of the fishing industry and their livelihoods.

"That's how I make my money to take care of my family. That's why I worry. I don't know how long they will last," said Gautier shrimper Cong Phi Nguyen.

Nguyen said he is ready to put his boat to work to take care of his wife and three children.

"Oh yeah, I want to come back to the water," Nguyen said.

The fishermen said they didn't want their boats to be anchored for long.  That's why they spent Friday morning, learning about boom equipment, safety procedures and details of the contract.

They also posed questions involving the lengths of the contract, fuel reimbursements, and insurance coverage.

Of the 109 people who attended the meeting, only six signed contracts.  Those who signed will be added to a database.  It will be up to an Operations Team, made up of BP and various agencies, to decide who gets called, where they'll go and what their jobs will be.

"It could be as simple as ferrying people from the coast or harbor to a boat.  It could also be ferrying supplies.  It could actually be having equipment attached to their vessels, like skimmers and boom, that are used to collect the oil and get the oil out of the water as well," said Van Chau.

"Do whatever they need me you know.  I'm here for it," said Nguyen. "I need to look over the contract first before I sign it."

Boat owners can be paid from $1,200 a day up to $3,000 a day, depending on the size of their vessels.  BP says the company will cover fuel costs and any specialized equipment.  For information on the Vessel of Opportunity Program, call (281) 366-5511 or email horizonsupport@oegllc.com.  There is also a number to call to make property or commercial claims:  (800) 440-0858.

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