BP filed a motion this week in Louisiana rejecting the claims of boat owners along the Gulf of Mexico who say the oil company is responsible for damage to their vessels that occurred during the Gulf oil spill. Some 3,000 otherwise out-of-work boat owners joined BP’s Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program to receive compensation for using their boats to participate in clean-up efforts. Under the VOO agreements, boat owners were to be available to BP 24 hours a day, and the vessels were not to be used for any purpose other than those dictated by BP during the term established in the VOO. In addition to paying boat operators, BP was to be responsible for providing protective clothing and equipment, decontaminating the vessels, and paying for damage incurred during the work. But BP now says that boat owners who participated in clean-up work and are now attempting to claim damages must first route their requests to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). So far, hundreds of VOO participants in multiple states have filed suits against BP alleging the company broke multiple promises, including:
- Inadequate compensation
- Failure to provide protective gear
- Failure to decontaminate vessels
- Failure to pay work-related damages
BP is also a target in a federal court lawsuit whose plaintiffs include individuals, businesses, and a host of government agencies. Although the deadline to join that suit passed, boat owners who participated in the VOO program and have not been properly compensated may still file suit. If you live in Alabama and were not compensated as promised for your participation in BP’s VOO program, please contact the experienced Mobile attorneys at Long & Long.