About 20,000 fishermen from Veracruz and Yucatán were affected by an oil spill in 2010. (PHoto: Stock File/FIS)
Fishermen affected by BP spill claim compensation
Friday, April 13, 2012, 03:40 (GMT + 9)
About 20,000 fishermen from Veracruz and Yucatán that were affected in 2010 by an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are still waiting to receive compensation by British Petroleum, the company responsible for the accident.
According to Horacio Polanco Garrido, an environmental lawyer representing the affected workers, the compensation to be paid by the US firm is worth millions, about USD 20,000 million.
He recalled that in accordance with the law, there is still one year period for those affected by the oil spill to file complaints with the US authorities.
The lawyer represents some 12,000 fishermen from Yucatán and about 8,000 from Veracruz (Tamiahua area), El Golfo reported.
"In Tamiahua, the product availability is much lower and this is absurd because on one hand the fisheries authorities declare that all was working well when fishermen are starving. To collect 15 kilograms of adequate-sized shrimp, it takes three or four days," Polanco Garrido pointed out.
Those affected parties and the attorney ask "federal authorities to make the public aware of the true information which they promised to collect and to avoid concealing data for no other reason because some information is being hidden."
On 27 February, litigation hearings began before the Court in New Orleans.
The oil spill in the Gulf was considered the worst environmental situation in the entire history of the United States.
"We are introducing a civil action in the United States with the participation of American lawyers. We have the record, we are presenting evidence. In fact, that is the reason why I am going there. That's the key, it is necessary to legally act, the time limit for action is three years but here in Mexico it is two years," Polanco Garrido explained.
"As it is an environmental issue, we still have a year of grace. But it is very important that fishermen, cooperatives, licensees, shipowners and tenants submit proceedings before American courts for genuinely to be entitled to compensation because British officials are not willingly going to issue a cheque for damages to them," the Mexican attorney added.
Polanco Garrido is confident that BP pays damages. To date, only the affected American people from the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Texas were compensated by the company, Televisa Veracruz reported.
"How come in the United States, coastal states are receiving compensation, payment for damages, and those from Mexico are not," the lawyer expressed with discomfort.
"It is time the government required a fund to the United States for a future fund," he concluded.
By Analia Murias