As tar balls washed up this weekend on the beaches of Dauphin Island, Ala., more and more boat captains are being notified that they services are no longer needed for the Vessels of Opportunity. Some have been promised that they will be rehired soon once the well is capped, but that is a BP tactic to keep them from the boat captains and deckhands from talking to the media.
Once these captains realize that BP is pulling out and the VoO will only be for a few select boats, the stories will come out about oil that wasn’t reported, dead marine life and health issues of those on the boats.
I asked attorney Mike Papantonio if the boat captains had any legal liability if they didn’t properly report what they saw while working under the program.
“Under agency law, the boat captains and deckhands become agents of the company. If they haven’t disclosed the oil that they saw or dead marine life, either under orders from their supervisors or on their own, they could be considered part of a cover-up. If they falsified their reports and those documents were used in reports to the federal government, they could have big problems as the federal government investigates this disaster further. They have may committed fraud.”