BP ordered 125 fishermen using their boats for the cleanup effort to go home late Tuesday after four workers fell ill. From the "Unified Command:"
At approximately 3:30 p.m., crewmembers of three vessels reported experiencing nausea, dizziness, headaches and chest pains. One individual was medevaced by air to West Jefferson Hospital in Marrero, La., another was transported to the same facility via boat, and two were transported via ambulance. The other crewmembers refused treatment at the dock. As a precautionary measure, the Unified Command directed all 125 of the commercial vessels that had been outfitted with equipment for oil recovery operations in the Breton Sound area, to return to their temporary accommodations in Breton Sound where medical personnel were being dispatched to evaluate the remaining crewmembers as an additional precaution.
“No other personnel are reporting symptoms, but we are taking this action as an extreme safeguard,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Robinson Cox, the assistant safety officer at Incident Command Post Houma.
I was in fishermen’s bar tonight in Grand Isle, LA, and spoke with a shrimper, a carpenter, and a outboard motor repairman. I’ll have more on that tomorrow, but while I was there with FDL diarist Ivan Oleander one of the bartenders took a phone call.
She reported after the call with a friend in Venice, Louisiana – the other main location of oil disaster buzz – witnessed a fisherman back from a BP cleanup trip who "busted his skull" as he fainted from his boat onto the dock. I assume that this is the man who was medevaced from the dock. Add in three more who required hospitalization and you have real evidence of just how poisonous the oil and chemical spays are for humans, in addition to animals.
While BP’s recall is in only one area in which it has a presence, word of the incident is already quickly spreading through fishing communities. All these people know is the water, and some hoped to make up for the fishing ban with money from BP. But now in the footsteps of the Exxon Valdez fishermen, a new generation of fishermen will endure what will be a lifelong battle with BP and the reality created by BP’s recklessness: no work and debilitating illnesses.