BP disaster may be Gulf’s worst
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 2, 2010
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Many fishing boats signed up to skim oil sit idle in marinas. Some captains and deckhands say they have been just waiting around for instructions while drawing checks from BP of more than $1,000 a day per vessel. Thousands of offers to clean beaches and wetlands have gone unanswered.
BP and the Obama administration faced mounting complaints Thursday that they are ignoring foreign offers of badly needed equipment and making poor use of the fishing boats and volunteers available to help clean up what may now be the biggest spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico.
Based on some government estimates, more than 140 million gallons of crude have now spewed from the bottom of the sea since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, eclipsing the 1979-80 disaster off Mexico that had long stood as the worst in the Gulf.
In recent days and weeks, for reasons BP has never explained, many fishing boats hired for the cleanup have done a lot of waiting around. At the same time, there is mounting frustration over the time it has taken the government to approve offers of help from foreign countries and international organizations.
The Coast Guard said there have been 107 offers of help from 44 nations, ranging from technical advice to skimmer boats and booms. But many of those offers are weeks old, and only a small number have been accepted, with the vast majority still under review, according to a list kept by the State Department.