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.

  • http://myspace.com/necee518 yvonne79

    Based on what I interpret here, an incentive to those who are unemployed to assist with the clean up efforts would definitely be a good move. BP would essentially be giving those who are out of work, an opprotunity to make money. This incentive serves NO purpose to those who are already wealthy. This is just my opinion….

  • FloridaChick813

    This incentive serves NO purpose to those who are already wealthy. This is just my opinion….


  • Mayborn

    The Rich gets richer, The poor gets poorer..Is the order of life. Sadly we cant change it.

  • Anna

    Ppl are getting sick from helping to clean up.

  • ohpretty1

    I’m playing devil’s advocate here but I’m being real. Sometimes, no most of the time, you have to be proactive. There have been people who have complained on the news but that’s all they are doing. Then you have those who’ve complained on the news, BUT have been in contact with BP and are getting things done for their families and/or companies. If I have a boat, should I not help with the cleanup (which IS more important) because I happen to be a lawyer? Who is to say a lawyer hasn’t been affected by the recession and they aren’t trying to feed their families? And who is to say what these people do for a living? Was that a question during the application process for Vessels of Opportunity?

    *re-read the quotes in the story

  • Al-Ameera

    This incentive serves NO purpose to those who are already wealthy. This is just my opinion….
    I would agree but, the reality is….How many poor people do you know that own fishing boats or any kind of boats for that matter? At the end of the day the oil spill needs to be cleaned up.

    I was always told with every good comes some bad. Nothing is ALL good.

  • Al-Ameera

    @ Ohpretty, I agree. It just proves, you can’t please ALL of the people ALL of the time.

  • http://twitter.com/Queensj QueenSJ

    Well you really can’t put anything past big corporations. They make the laws. So this comes as no surprised. But the unemployed who are willing to work should be given just as much of an opportunity as the luxury boat owners. It’s the best thing to do.

  • atltx

    So many dynamics will be explored because of this spill. Yeah…well connected folk probably were first in line. And as far as folks complaining instead of doing something. It’s about the culture…in good ol boy speak…don’t bite the hand that feeds you crumbs when that’s all you know you can get. I would say…alot of the gulf coast is almost doomed. Time for sitting silently and being scared of BP’s influence is over. They have the media attention…they should use it to their advantage. Civil Rights was not a big deal until the media introduced the lack of basic rights to all of America via “primetime” outlets…and then the ball started rolling. Same thing applies here.