MOBILE, Alabama – BP has cut back on workers along the Gulf Coast.
In fact, there are six times fewer boats in the Vessels of Opportunity program compared to a month ago.
However, more work may be ahead for commercial fishermen and charter boat captains, thanks to a new program.
BP officials said there hasn’t been skimmable oil offshore for 21 days.
But now, they’re starting a new sub-surface monitoring program to look for oil.
And it will have a rotation policy employing commercial fishermen and charter boat captains.
Matt Kissinger, BP’s Vessels of Opportunity Program Director, said, “We’re doing 15 day-on hires, and then we’re bringing in new participants based on either zero days on hire or less days on hire, so that we can try and bring more of those professional mariners into the program that haven’t had the opportunity yet.”
As for oil under the surface of the sand, like globs we found on Fort Morgan last week, BP officials said storm surge from Hurricane Alex in June washed up what they call tar mats.
BP’s Deputy Incident Commander Kris Sliger, “We have about ten to twelve tar mats specifically marked on the beaches in southern Baldwin County that are essentially sitting at the mean high tide line.”
BP officials said the tar mats are about six to eight inches underground and can be as large as a car.
Work started Wednesday to clean them up.
Sliger said, “Those will be removed with what we call track hoes with large articulated arms which allow us to essentially stand on the beach with the machines, but be able to reach up to 100 feet out into the surf line.”
BP officials said they have received many reports of oil being found in different areas this week, but preliminary tests have indicated it is not oil.