UPDATE: June 22, 2010. BP has posted new requirements for vessels of opportunity. Vessels are required to be commercial or charter fishing vessels, registered in the state in which they will be put to work, and registered within that state as a commercial vessel prior to March 31, 2010. (See BP Vessels of Opportunity site.)
UPDATE: June 17, 2010. BP has a new phone number for the Vessels of Opportunity Program: 1-866-279-7983.
Training and orientation sessions have resumed in selected communities along the Gulf Coast. Schedules do not appear on the BP Vessels of Opportunity Web site and appear to be advertised to residents sporadically through local media. The Franklin County, Fla., Emergency Operations Center has listed its training schedule at: http://oilspillrecovery.org.
UPDATE: May 25, 2010. At this time, the need for additional vessels is limited, and there are no new training or orientation sessions scheduled for Florida. We will continue to maintain this page as we receive additional information.
BP has established the Vessels of Opportunity program to obtain additional resources to support the oil spill response. This site is for Florida residents who are interested in the Vessels of Opportunity program. It is updated with the most current information available to Florida Sea Grant.
BP has additional information about the program on its Vessels of Opportunity site. Interested applicants can also call the BP Hotline for more information: 1-866-279-7983.
This page is arranged in several sections. Please click on a section or scroll down for more information
- How might my vessel be used in the program?
- What is the process for participating in the program?
- How will I be compensated for participating in the program?
- Other important points.
How might my vessel be used in the program?
Vessel operators throughout the Gulf Coast may be called upon for a variety of clean-up tasks, including transporting supplies, performing wildlife rescue, and assisting in boom deployment. Currently, vessels are being organized in 25-boat task forces that can be dispatched from various places along the coast.
What is the process for participating in the program?
To be eligible for the Vessels of Opportunity program, candidates must:
- Have the captain and crew participate in an orientation and hazardous materials training session.
- Register their vessel for evaluation
- Sign a contractual letter of agreement.
Completing these 3 steps does not guarantee that a vessel will be used in the Vessels of Opportunity program. We have more details on each of the 3 steps below.
The captain and crew must participate in the scheduled local training program to be eligible for the Vessels of Opportunity program. It is recommended, but not required, that vessel owners participate as well. This initial training will cover health, safety, and environmental issues and review of the Vessels of Opportunity program’s Master Vessel Charter Agreement. Sea Grant has obtained a sample Master Vessel Charter Agreement that BP has used, but the actual agreement may differ from this sample.
A list of Vessels of Opportunity training sessions can be found at BP’s Vessels of Opportunity site. If you are interested in taking a training, you are encouraged to call the BP Vessels of Opportunity program at 281.366.5511 to register.
Registering your vessel
After you’ve signed the Charter Agreement, you will be asked to fill out the Vessel of Opportunity Information Sheet. Your vessel will be entered into BP’s database in one of 4 categories based on the length of your vessel:
- More than 65 feet.
- 45-65 ft.
- 30-45 ft.
- Less than 30 ft.
BP will select vessels to use in the recovery from this database. Owners of these “active” vessels will be contacted with the date, time, and location to report to for additional information. Active vessels must pass inspection by BP’s contractor. Once the vessel passes inspection, the captain and crew must take additional, advanced training from BP before being eligible to participate in cleanup on an as-needed basis. Trainees will be compensated for travel and lodging to participate in the advanced training. Only captains and crew of active vessels will be allowed to take this advanced training.
Sign an contractual letter of agreement
All vessel owners who want to participate in the Vessels of Opportunity program must sign a Master Vessel Charter Agreement. Sea Grant has obtained a copy of an example agreement that BP has used. However, the actual agreement may differ from this example.
Participating in the training and/or signing the Charter Agreement does not guarantee that your vessel will be used in the program. Additionally, BP’s trainers are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice, so vessel owners with legal questions about the Charter Agreement should contact their personal attorneys.
How will I be compensated for participating in the program?
Only vessels that are actually used in the program will be compensated. Vessel owners will be paid according to the following fixed schedule, based on the length of their vessel:
- Vessels greater than 65 feet: $3000 per 24-hour day.
- Vessels 45-65’: $2000 per 24-hour day.
- Vessels 30-45’: $1500 per 24-hour day.
- Vessels less than 30’: $1200 per 24-hour day.
Any specialized equipment required by BP will be reimbursed at cost + 10%.
Crew members will be paid $200 per 8-hour day. Meals are to be provided by the vessel owner.
Other important points
- Vessels are chosen based on location: BP is hiring locally whenever possible.
- Having a Captain’s License is a plus, but is not required.
- Vessel insurance is not required, but is strongly suggested. If your vessel is damaged, it is not covered under BP’s insurance, as you are considered an independent contractor.
- Again, vessel owners are encouraged to contact their personal attorneys if they have any legal questions about the Charter Agreement or Vessels of Opportunity program.