Boat salesman frustrated, can't work the Vessels of Opportunity - - The News for South Mississippi

Boat salesman frustrated, can't work the Vessels of Opportunity program


By Jessica Bowman – email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The Vessels of Opportunity program is only accepting commercial boats at this time to help with oil spill cleanup in the Gulf. Some believe this program has been beneficial for some South Mississippi entrepreneurs. One business owner from D'Iberville said his business should qualify, but officials are saying it does not.

Ken Parker owns and operates Parker Marine, Incorporated. He was hoping his World Cat catamarans could play a part in cleaning up the oil.

"I received a call last week from the V.O. people in Mobile, and they told me that I did not qualify as a commercial business," said Ken Parker.

Parker said the explanation he received from the Vessels of Opportunity program did not make sense.

"My argument with them is how can I not be viewed as a commercial business just because I'm not a shrimper or a crabber. We are a marine business, and we sell boats," Parker said.

There was yet another hurdle stopping Parker from using his 31 foot catamarans.

Parker said, "Example, commercial fishing license, I did not have a commercial fishing license; therefore, I could not be viewed as a commercial boat. According to their guidelines, unless you had that license historically before March 31st you are not viewed as a commercial boat."

This is not only causing Parker to suffer financially; he said it is not fair.

"I have no steady income. As I said, I did file a claim with BP, however they can't just send me enough money for me to live my normal life style," said Parker.

He said the only thing he can do now is sit and wait. We did make a call to BP officials, and they said the Vessels of Opportunity program was primarily set up for fisherman and those people who have lost their livelihoods out on the water because of the oil spill.

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