As the April 20 deadline for joining the lawsuit against those responsible for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill draws near, a number of stories are emerging about those who participated in BP’s Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program and are still seeking payment. According to the U.S. government’s Gulf oil spill website, 3,200 boat operators participated in clean-up efforts through VOO. The VOO agreement employed otherwise out-of-work boat operators in the aftermath of the oil spill, with BP to be responsible for decontaminating the vessels and the costs associated with damage or expenses incurred during the work. The agreement stipulated that boat owners be available to BP 24 hours a day and that the vessels not be used for any purpose other than those dictated by BP during the term established in the VOO. In a March letter to the head of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange claimed thousands of Alabama boat operators are still owed compensation for their work and for standby time incurred while VOO participants were put on hold as Tropical Storm Bonnie approached in July 2010. In addition, there are an increasing number of complaints that BP did not provide adequate protective clothing and equipment to some VOO participants and that boat owners’ vessels were not decontaminated properly or in a timely fashion. If you experienced personal injury or economic loss due to the Gulf oil spill, the experienced Alabama attorneys at Long & Long, can represent you and help you complete the necessary claims documentation by the April 20 deadline. Time is of the essence. Those who do not file claims by April 20, 2011, may lose their ability to seek financial compensation from those responsible for the Gulf oil spill. Even if you already received funds through the GCCF, you should seek to join the federal litigation; the federal suit is separate from claims processed via the GCCF. If you live in Alabama and were not paid for your participation in the VOO or you suffered injury or economic loss related to the Gulf oil spill, please contact the accomplished Mobile attorneys at Long & Long.

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