A program created by oil giant BP for hiring fishermen to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf has come under fire.
Louisiana coast fisherman complain that BP has hired more wealthy pleasure boat owners than unemployed fishermen who need the work. Many complain that BP’s program is a windfall to the rich luxury craft owners who earn up to $5,000 a day from BP to help in the clean up effort.
Vessels of Opportunity is a program designed to hire charter and fishing boats to cleanup the massive crude oil spill that is moving toward the Florida panhandle and delicate marshland.
But a Daily Beast investigation reveals the program is more like a PR stunt than a financial savior to those who find themselves out of work. A large portion of the 1,900 contracts handed out by BP so far have gone to the “owners of pleasure boats: doctors, lawyers, and the like, who use their vessels for Saturday fishing trips or family outings.”
“They have activated freaking ski boats, while my husband, who has been in the charter business for two decades, sits idle,” one woman told an ABC news reporter.
“We have these weekend warriors taking away jobs from those who fish for a living,” says Biloxi boat captain Tom Becker. “This is like stealing. These jokers are taking money away from those who are trying to feed their families.”
“Vessels of Opportunity is a fiasco,” says Scott Robson, president of the Destin Charter Boat Association. “…people being paid for their boats who don’t make their livings on the water.”
When contacted by the DailyBeast.com, BP said they were aware of the complaints and have made changes to the program.