Well, that didn’t take long. Only days after BP spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg announced that payments to Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) workers might not count against their claims settlements, the oil giant has announced the program will end. Just like that. Abrupt to say the least, but I’m sure the timing is pure coincidence.
It’s certainly premature, and not just because of the lost jobs. Daily reports of oil sightings, both surface and subsurface, continue to pour in (see previous posts). BP claims that some 3,500 vessels were put to work over the life of the program, and more than $500 million was spent on the VOO program in the three-state coastal area.
Granted, it’s BP so we don’t know if “3,500 vessels” includes some canoe hired for 30 minutes to make a lunch run, but there’s no doubt that the VOO was an important program. Here’s one unintended consequence of the move: A lot of captains out there have been holding their tongues, because they knew that speaking up would cost them BP money. Now, it will be interesting to find out what these former VOO folks have really been seeing out there on the water.
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