April 25, 2011 by David Gillaspie
When you say hurricane in Gulf Shores, Alabama, they say, “Ivan.”
When you say Oil Spill, they say what everyone else says in the gulf states, “BP.”
Hurricane Ivan convinced many boaters to find a new slip.
If their boats survived, the new dock might be on an Alabama bayou.
What do you do with your boat during the BP oil spill if your business is taking visitors on dolphin tours?
No one wants to see dolphins struggling in an oil slick any more than they want to see greased up pelicans. But if you can fit thirty-five tourists on board, you can fit thirty-five oil rig workers.
A good businessman adapts with the times. If you’ve got to choose between no tourists and no money, or BP oil workers and lots of money, make the call.
It’s easy to make when BP promises to repair any problems that might arise with the boat when they hire it.
If the beautiful paint job showing the wonders of wildlife gets scratched, they’ll fix it. If the engine is fouled by oiled up water clogging it during trips back and forth across the BP oil slick waters, they’ll fix it.
Maybe they’ll get around to it after a lawsuit. Maybe a BP spokesman will promise his company is processing claims as fast as humanly possible.
If it’s your boat, and you’ve just lost a season of dolphin watching, it’s not fast enough.
You can’t take people out on the water when you don’t have full confidence that your engine will get you back to shore. An engine fouled by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is one thing, passing it off on innocent visitors another.
Research points to the next gulf oil spill as a ‘when’, not an ‘if’. These platforms, as huge as they are, won’t be permanent. When they go, the people living on the Gulf States don’t want their land and way of life ruined.
One thing to remember about people who live near water and make their living from being near the water is the relationship. Chances are good that families working the gulf are following generations of tradition. If you doubt it, talk to one of them about where they live and what they do.
These folks know the land and the sea better than any map you’ll find. Listen to their specific details of roads and bayous and you’ll notice there’s little difference. They’re more likely to take a boat across the bay to the tennis courts than jump in a car. If they can get there by water, that’s how they’ll do it.
A confusing part of life on the gulf is that people there still find honor in a man’s word. After all, if they promise to do something, count on it getting done. They expect the same from others.
How hard is it to understand the language of a contract that states “We will make whole any damage occurring to your boat while transporting workers for BP.”
What would you expect?
Here’s a translation: Fix what went wrong, then fix the wrongs that happened from fixing what initially went wrong.
The eyes of a nation are on you, BP. Your name graces gas stations across the land. Stop stalling in the Gulf States and get it right.
If you are wondering where to start, sir, I can put you in touch with the owner of a dolphin viewing vessel you leased for worker transportation across the water.
He’s waiting, and so is everyone else with your oil in the wrong places. Head’s up, Richie.
By David Gillaspie