Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Jun 8 08:25:03 EDT 2010


All captains and vessel owners involved in the St. Bernard Parish oil spill
operations attended a transition meeting Sunday night. Officials addressed
the transition to operations under United States Environmental
Services/United States Maritime Services.

St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro announced that the commercial
fishing fleet working in St. Bernard Parish waters on oil response has
officially been absorbed by USES/USMS, the Oil Spill Response Organization
hired by British Petroleum to conduct oil clean-up operations in St. Bernard
Parish. Under the new oil response/cleanup structure, those fishermen under
USES/USMS hire will be referred to as the USES/USMS St. Bernard Fishing
Vessel Fleet Response.

Representatives from BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and St. Bernard Parish oil
response operations briefed the fleet on the transition. St. Bernard Council
members Wayne Landry, Fred Everhardt and Kenneth Henderson attended the
meeting as well. President Taffaro and St. Bernard Parish Incident Commander
for Oil Spill Operations David Dysart gave the fleet a visual presentation
showing how each vessel will assigned work based on its ability to do
certain tasks. Officials then gave the fishermen the opportunity to choose
which aspect of the oil clean-up/response they would be willing to join.

The Recovery Group will be used to conduct skimming operations near shore to
prevent the oil from getting to marsh and land. This will consist of
Skimmers and Tow Boats. Skimmers must be a shrimp boat larger than 50 feet
capable of trawling, which will be equipped with skimming equipment. The tow
must be larger than 35 feet and will drag a single piece of boom between the
skimmer and itself to divert the oil into the skimmer.

The Recon Group will be required to be on water for 48 consecutive hours and
will continually search for oil in their assigned location. This vessel will
typically be 40 feet or larger.

The Rapid Assessment Teams Group (RAT Team) will be rapidly deployed at the
sighting of oil to send the U.S. Coast Guard Assessment teams to review and
determine the appropriate course of action. These particular vessels should
be fast moving and able to conduct night operations and quarter. This vessel
will be 24 feet or longer, capable of traveling at speeds of at least 40
miles per hour.

The Protection Group will deploy and maintain boom. Larger vessels, 30 feet
or longer, will haul boom and supervise the placement of boom and acts as a
staging base for repair and maintenance operations on the water. The smaller
vessels in this group, 18 feet or longer, will deploy, validate and maintain

The Logistics Group will be used to resupply the entire fleet and jack-up
barges in the area of operation. This group's responsibility will be
expanded to tow the fuel barges to support the Recovery Group. The larger
boats in this group will be 30 feet or longer, smaller boats will be 18 feet
or longer. Both size vessels need to be capable of hauling supplies.

The Tar ball Test Group will be used to locate and detect underwater oil
passing through the area of operation. This vessel must be 30 feet or longer
and able to perform trawling operations with detection supplies.

A representative from USES/USMS explained the pay scale and discussed the
program's rules and regulations. Officials the cutoff work day for pay is
Wednesday, and payments will be made available the following Friday. The
fishermen received proper documents so they can participate in the USES/USMS
St. Bernard Fishing Vessel Fleet Response.

"We are committed to staying engaged and on top of our commercial fishing
fleet continuing to serve a vital role in the oil spill response," President
Taffaro said. "We welcome the partnership with USES as a local company for
this event."

"The meeting went well," Council member Kenny Henderson said, "and it's
important that we get everybody to work."

"I hope this meeting will produce enough work to keep all the commercial
fishermen in St. Bernard Parish working as we face the potential
catastrophic devastation to our fisheries," Council Member Wayne Landry
said. "Everyone in the Parish is working hard with BP & Federal Agencies to
assist us in our endeavor."


More information about the StBernard mailing list