BP rejects liability claims by plaintiffs over damaged ships in Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Alejandro de los Rios May 12, 2011, 2:43am


BP filed a 65-page motion rejecting claims by Gulf Coast boat owners who say the oil company is liable for damages caused to their vessels by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP said that ships participating in the oil spill cleanup which are now claiming damages must first direct their claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) in accordance with mandates established by the Oil Pollution Act.

The filing states that ship owners and the state of Louisiana have filed premature claims against BP because they have not yet presented losses to the GCCF.

"BP stands ready to consider Louisiana's OPA claims once Louisiana complies with its OPA obligations and presents them to BP," the memo states.

Hundreds of ship owners that participated in BP's Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program to help combat the oil spill filed suits claiming injuries as a result of oil spill cleanup and being in close contact with chemical dispersants.

The state of Louisiana is suing BP for hundreds of millions of dollars in oil-spill damages. In their filing, BP stated that they have paid over $1 billion, including $580 million to state and municipal governments, through the GCCF.

BP attorneys Don Haycraft, Keith Jarrett, Richard Godfrey, Andrew Langan, Wendy Bloom and Jeffrey Clark filed the memo May 9 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

BP is also facing numerous lawsuits by VOO plaintiffs who claim unpaid wages from BP.

Recently, Federal Judge Carl Barbier said he would fast-track VOO contract complaints in the multidistrict litigation surrounding the BP oil spill.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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