Gulf Oil Spill and The Real Rulers of The World

Regarding the Gulf oil spill, I've been sitting back quietly observing the shenanigans as they evolve. I remain amazed that technologically, we have the ability to send a mobile robot to Mars and send back photos of that planet's surface, but we can't ...

7th June 2010.
By Ed Sherman

Regarding the Gulf oil spill, I’ve been sitting back quietly observing the shenanigans as they evolve. I remain amazed that technologically, we have the ability to send a mobile robot to Mars and send back photos of that planet’s surface, but we can’t seem to figure out a way to plug a hole in the ocean’s floor one mile deep. IMHO we should have had this all figured out before  allowing any oil company or sub-contractor to set up a rig. Obviously our thirst for oil out-weighed proper oversight on the part of whatever government organization is responsible for such things.

Now the legal games are beginning, and I compel all readers of this blog to contact their respective congress and senate representatives and scream bloody loud that current liability limits are not even close to realistic in today’s world.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve believed for years that in spite of all the various governments and their differences around the globe, the world is actually run by four or five people and they all run oil companies……………..

In this case there appear to be two companies involved, Transocean LTD. and BP PLC. Transocean has already begun playing games with the legal system, recently filing a petition in a federal court that would limit its liability to $27 million dollars based on a maritime law written in 1851, back when a million dollars was actually a lot of money. So, now the lawyers are lining up. I’m on the side of the hundreds if not thousands of small businesses in the Gulf region that are now beiing affected, from motel operators to crab and shrimp fishers to boat dealers and charter operators. The ripple affect of all this is going to effect all business sectors, retail, wholesale, and service businesses that work on boats are all going to be heavily impacted.

BP, to their credit has consistently stated that it will pay all “legitimate claims” related to this situation, but I really wonder. What they haven’t said is that they will pay all legitimate claims up to the limit of their liability…………. My inner conspiracy theorist self knows that what is going on right now is at least to some extent political posturing, and BP can certainly afford to wait out the game indefinately.

After the Exxon Valdez incident the 1990 Oil Pollution Act set limits to $75 million for situations like this and these real rulers of the world are fully aware of this. So now the US Senate has several realistic NJ members that have tried unsuccessfully to get an expedited bill through to raise the limit to $10 billion, more in line with today’s economy. Remember a billion is the new million in today’s world.

So, who in the senate is against raising the liability limits to that extent? Well, go figure, they are all from oil producing states like Alaska, Louisiana and Alabama. Now in fairness to the two Southern gentlemen that are in the Senate representing the folks back home (David Vitter and Jeff Sessions), they really do have to get credit for creative law making proposals. They want to limit the liability to an amount equal to the last four quarters of a company’s profits or double the current limit, whichever is greater. Do I think the companies will play accounting games to hide profits, effectively reducing their liability if this bill goes through? You bet I do.

Boater’s be tough! Call or write your Senators and Congress people today. Its time to clamp down on the rulers of the world and get the game played fairly. Not happening right now IMHO. So what’s Ed’s Boat Tip here? Help your fellow boaters and the many folks who work in the marine industry in the Gulf region, contact your representatives, the future of the Gulf Of Mexico depends on it. Please, please, don’t count on the government or the oil companies to get this right. They won’t without some serious voter griping.


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Ed Sherman

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Ed Sherman is a regular contributor to boats.com, as well as to Professional Boatbuilder and Cruising World, where he previously was electronics editor. He also is the curriculum director for the American Boat and Yacht Council. Previously, Ed was chairman of the Marine Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. Ed’s blog posts appear courtesy of his website, EdsBoatTips.
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