BP Vessel of Opportunity Workers Allege that Oil Is Not Being Cleaned Up During the Day ... Instead, Corexit Is Being Sprayed at Night

George Washington's picture

Washington’s
Blog

The government and BP have said that no dispersants have been sprayed
in the Gulf since the well was partially capped on July 15th.

However, local residents have been saying for weeks that Corexit is still being sprayed.

Admiral Allen wouldn't deny this allegation unequivocally as of August 9th.

On August 10th, the Destin Log reported:

Lt.
Cmdr. Dale Vogelsang, liaison officer with the United State Coast
Guard, told The Log he had contacted Unified Command and they had
“confirmed” that dispersants were not being used in Florida waters.
“Dispersants are only being used over the wellhead in Louisiana,”
Vogelsang said. “We are working with Eglin and Hurlburt to confirm what
the flight pattern may be. But right now, it appears to be a normal
flight.”

 

Vogelsang also said Unified Command confirmed to him that
C-130s have never been used to distribute dispersants, as they
“typically use smaller aircraft.”

 

But according to an article by the 910th
Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office, based in Youngstown, OH., C-130H
Hercules aircraft started aerial spray operations Saturday, May 1,
under the direction of the president of the United States and Secretary
of Defense. “The objective of the aerial spray operation is to
neutralize the oil spill with oil dispersing agents,” the article
states.

 

A July Lockheed Martin Newsletter states that “Lockheed
Martin aircraft, including C-130s and P-3s, have been deployed to the
Gulf region by the Air Force, Coast Guard and other government
customers to perform a variety of tasks, such as monitoring, mapping
and dispersant spraying.”

 

Neither of the articles specify the operations have taken place in Florida.

 

After
The Log spoke with Vogelsang Friday morning, he once again reiterated
that “no dispersants were being used in Florida waters,” and no
dispersants have been used anywhere since mid-July. When The Log asked
Vogelsang about the two articles, which state C-130s have been used for
dispersant spraying, he said “if they were being used here locally to
spray dispersants, then Unified Command didn’t know about it.”

In fact, there are photos and video of C-130s dropping dispersant in the Gulf.

On July 4th, marine biologist and toxicologist Dr. Chris Pincetich -
who has an extensive background in testing the affects of chemicals on
fish - said that the Coast Guard was spraying Corexit at night over the Gulf:

Dr. Pincetich made this allegation before the well was partially capped on July 15th.

However, on August 9th, award-winning journalist Dahr Jamail wrote:

Dean
Blanchard, one of the most important seafood purchasers in Louisiana,
recently attended a Town Hall Meeting with a BP representative in Grand
Isle, Louisiana.

 

In the meeting, Blanchard stands up and addresses the BP representative at length.

 

***

Blanchard
had clearly heard enough of BP’s propaganda. To the representatives’
request to have someone explain to him why BP would not want to clean
up the oil, Blanchard angrily obliged:

 

“Because
it’s more cost effective for ya’ll to come at night and sink the
son-of-a-bitch! When the oil’s coming around, they call ya’ll, they
tell ya’ll where the oil’s at, and the first thing ya’ll do is tell
them to go the other way, ya’ll send the planes, and ya’ll fucking sink
it! [Spray dispersants from the air] That’s what ya’ll are doing, come
on man!” He sits back down angrily. “Let’s quit playing over here and
tell the truth. Ya’ll are sinking the oil, Jason! You know ya’ll are
sinking it. You know what ya’ll are doing. Ya’ll are sending all the
boats, you’re putting them all in a group at night, we all hear the
planes, and the next morning there’s nothing but white bubbles! What do
you think, we’re stupid? We’re not stupid! Ya’ll are putting the oil
on the bottom of my fishing grounds! Ya’ll not only messing me up now,
ya’ll are messing me up for the rest of my life! I ain’t gonna live
long enough to buy anymore shrimp!”

Today, Jamail reports that several people working with BP's Vessels-of-Opportunity
program have confirmed this allegation. Here is an excerpt from the
must-read essay (this is one of the most important stories about the
oil spill, worth taking the time to read word-for-word):

[PhD
marine biologist Ed Cake, who has worked for the past couple of
decades growing the Gulf oyster industry along side the oil business,
usually working for both industries simultaneously] wrote of the
experience: "When the vessel was stopped for sampling, small, 0.5- to
1.0-inch-diameter bubbles would periodically rise to the surface and
shortly thereafter they would pop leaving a small oil sheen. According
to the fishermen, several of BP's Vessels-Of-Opportunity 
(Carolina Skiffs with tanks of dispersants [Corexit]) were hand
spraying in Mississippi Sound off the Pass Christian Harbor in prior
days/nights. It appears to this observer that the dispersants are still
in the area and are continuing to react with oil in the waters off
Pass Christian Harbor."

 

***

A
resident, who has a yacht in the harbor, spoke with Truthout on
condition of anonymity due to fears of reprisal from BP. "Last week we
were sitting on our boat and you could smell the chemicals," he
explained. "It smelt like death. It was like mosquito spray, but ten
times stronger. The next day I was hoarse and my lungs felt like I'd
been in a smoky bar the night before."

***

 

Truthout
spoke with another man, who was recently laid off from the VOO
program. He also spoke on condition of anonymity. "Just the other day
one of the Carolina Skiffs passed us spraying something," he said. "We
went west instead of east as we turned and a group of Carolina Skiffs
was spraying something over the water."

 

A
Carolina Skiff is a type of boat, usually between 13' and 30' long,
very versatile and can function well in shallow or deep waters. They
are known for having a large payload capacity and a lot of interior
space.

 

Alarmed by what he saw, the former VOO
worker called the Coast Guard to report what he believed was a private
contractor company spraying dispersants. "We were later told by the
Coast Guard they'd investigated the incident and told us what we saw
were vacuum boats sucking oil, and they were rinsing their tanks," he
said. "But we know this is a lie and that BP is using these out of
state contractors to come in and spray the dispersant at night and they
are using planes to drop it as well."

 

He
worked in the VOO program looking for oil. When his team would find
oil, upon reporting it, they would consistently be sent away without
explanation or the opportunity to clean it. "They made us abort these
missions," he said. "Two days ago I put out boom in a bunch of oil for
five minutes, they told me to abort the mission, so I pulled up boom
soaked in oil. What the hell are we doing out there if they won't let
us work to clean up the oil?"

 

He told Truthout
that as his and other VOO teams would be going out to work on the water
in the morning, they would pass the out-of-state contractors in
Carolina Skiffs coming in from what he believed to be a covert spraying
of the oil with dispersant in order to sink it. He believes this was
done to deliberately prevent the VOO teams from finding and collecting
oil. By doing so, BP's liability would be lessened since the oil giant
will be fined for the amount of oil collected.

"BP
brings in the Carolina Skiffs to spray the dispersant at night," he
added, "And they are not accountable to the Coast Guard."

 

James
Miller, who had taken the group out into the Mississippi Sound that
found the oil/dispersants on August 11, told Truthout that the Carolina
Skiff teams spraying dispersants were "common" and that it "happened
all the time."

Miller, who was in the VOO, is an
eyewitness to planes spraying dispersants, as well as the Carolina
Skiff crews doing the same.

 

"We'd roll up on a
patch of oil ½ mile wide by one mile long and they'd hold us off from
cleaning it up," Miller, speaking with Truthout at his home in
D'Iberville, Mississippi, said. "We'd leave and the Carolina Skiffs
would pull up and start spraying dispersants on the oil. The guys doing
the spraying would wear respirators and safety glasses. Their boats
have 375 gallon white drums full of the stuff and they could spray it
out 150 feet. The next day there'd be the white foam that's always
there after they hit the oil with dispersants."

 

Some
nights VOO crews would sleep out near the work sites. "We'd sleep out
there and some nights the planes would come in so close the noise would
wake us from a dead sleep," Miller added. "Again, we'd call in the
oiled areas during the day and at night the planes would come in and
hit the hell out of it with dispersants. That was the drill. We'd spot
it and report it. They'd call us off it and send guys out in the skiffs
or planes to sink it."

 

Mark Stewart, from Ocean
Springs, Mississippi, was in the VOO program for 70 days before being
laid off on August 2. The last weeks has seen BP decreasing the number
of response workers from around 45,000 down to around 30,000. The
number is decreasing by the day.

 

Stewart, a
third generation commercial fisherman, ... like Miller, is an
eyewitness to planes dispensing dispersant at night, as well as the
Carolina Skiff crews spraying dispersant. "I worked out off the barrier
islands of Mississippi," Stewart said. "They would relentlessly carpet
bomb the oil we found with dispersants, day and night."

 

Stewart,
echoing what VOO employees across the Gulf Coast are saying, told
Truthout his crew would regularly find oil, report it, be sent away,
then either watch as planes or Carolina Skiffs would arrive to apply
dispersants, or come back the next day to find the white foamy
emulsified oil remnant that is left on the surface after oil has been
hit with dispersants.

 

Stewart added, "Whenever
government people, state or federal, would be flying over us, we'd be
instructed to put out all our boom and start skimming, acting like we
were gathering oil, even when we weren't in the oil."

 

***

There is a clear pattern that VOO workers in all four states are consistently reporting:

  • VOO workers identify the oil.
  • They are then sent elsewhere by someone higher up the chain of command.
  • Dispersants
    are later applied by out-of-state contractors in Carolina Skiffs
    (usually at night), or aircraft are used, in order to sink the oil.
  • The oil "appears" gone and, therefore, no additional action is taken.