Remember the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a few months ago?
Haven't thought about that in a while have ya?
Well, that's because BP has a 5 star public relations division.
Well, change is in the wind. The 350 ft barge that our tug boat baby sits was retrofitted to be an oil response vessel for BP. This extensive and costly project began before the gushing well was capped.
When they finally capped the well, the retrofitting on the barge was about 50% complete, but BP said to continue with the project.
We, the crew on the tug and barge took this decision to be a positive sign. If BP was going to continue to sink millions of dollars into this conversion project, we figured they must have long term plans, maybe permanent plans to keep us and this unit around.
You know, just a good public relations move.
I figured I would be sailing right into retirement while sitting in Fourchon, standing by with the barge, taking pictures of sunsets and waiting to called upon.
Just 2 months ago the last TV news teams wiped the oil from their boots and packed up their gear, heading North, searching for other calamities to report on.
Yesterday BP informed us they will start to decommission the barge, and will be terminating the contract we had with them.
BP spent 4 million dollars installing the Kevin Costner oil separators and all the related equipment, and now they are going to take a torch and strip the barge, returning her to her former life as an oil barge?
4 million dollars spent and the barge never left the dock.
You have more oil in your kitchen pantry than that barge recovered.
That barge which has the capacity to hold 135,000 barrels of oil, never saw one drop of the oil from the spill. Was it a 4 million dollar dress rehearsal ?
Or a costly PR move?
Maybe it's me, but this just doesn't begin to even look like a sound business decision.
A couple of questions come to mind.
Will the TV news crews be there to report the decommissioning, like they were there when Keven Costner was brought in for a photo opp?
BP's heartfelt commercials that sickeningly run on TV in this area about every 15 minutes and make my heart go pitter-pat, show a caring, prepared company that will make good on their mistake and be ready to respond in the event something like this were to happen again.
Removing $4,000,000 worth of oil cleanup equipment they had just paid for a couple of months ago seems to be the opposite of their public message.