As a South Florida lawyer who represents victims of the BP oil spill, I do not agree with BP’s announcement that they intend to deduct from potential claims payments made to fisherman and shrimpers; for the work they have already done to help BP clean up its mess. Certainly, this should have been agreed upon before the work was started.
BP’s Vessels of Opportunity program was intended to employ local fisherman, oyster-men, shrimpers and boaters to work clean up duty for BP. Many of the locals had to spend money to get their boats “Coast Guard Approved”, buy fuel, insurance and crews. My concern is that many of the shrimpers I know, especially the Asian fisherman in Louisiana, did not know or agree to the set-off. Yes, they have been receiving money, either on a daily or weekly basis, but by the time you deduct the expenses that they incurred, they net little or nothing.
Claims Fund Administrator Ken Feinberg says, the deductions are fair. I sure hope he considers what claimants end up netting as well as the fact that BP is taking this position after the work has already been done. So far, BP has done little to show me, that they are concerned about doing what is right.