Health Hazard Evaluation of Deepwater Horizon Response Workers -- Interim Report 4   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) program was established by BP in response to the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon explosion and resultant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As part of this program, local vessel owners contracted their boats to conduct a variety of oil spill response activities including booming and skimming operations, supporting on‐site burning of surface oil, tar ball recovery, and providing transportation of supplies and personnel [BP 2010]. During June 10--20, 2010, NIOSH industrial hygienists conducted industrial hygiene assessments on six fishing and shrimping trawlers in the VoO program that were contracted by BP to remove surface oil by booming and skimming. These trawlers typically ranged in size from 20 feet to more than 65 feet in length. On days when oil was not present on the water surface in the areas to which these vessels were assigned, the vessel captains often directed their vessels through patches of foam (described by the crew as 'dispersant foam') found on the sea surface to break them up. The vessels were typically staffed by a captain and 1--2 deckhands who stayed on the boat and 1--2 responders responsible for doing oil clean‐up work on the VoOs. These responders were contract employees and were transported to the VoOs by crew boats on a daily basis."

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