Fisherman’s wife breaks the silence
By Elizabeth Cohen
June 3, 2010
Venice, Louisiana (CNN) — Kindra Arnesen’s husband often calls while he’s out on a shrimping trip, so she wasn’t surprised to hear her cell phone ring the night of April 29 while he was on an overnight fishing expedition.
However, this time, her husband, David, wasn’t calling to tell her about the day’s catch or to wish their children Aleena and David Jr. a good night. He was calling to tell her he was sick, and the strange thing about it, so were men on the seven other shrimping boats working near his.
“I received several calls from him saying, ‘This one’s hanging over the boat throwing up. This one says he’s dizzy, and he’s feeling faint. Everybody’s loading up their stuff, tying up their rigs and going back to the docks,’” Arnesen remembers.
Arnesen believes it was vapors from the oil and the dispersants from the BP Gulf oil disaster that made her husband and the other shrimpers sick. She says they were downwind of it, and the smell was “so strong they could almost taste it.”
For several weeks, she hesitated to talk publicly about it. Like many fishermen who can no longer fish in the Gulf, her husband has signed a contract to work with BP to clean up the oil, and she doesn’t want to bite the hand that puts food on her family’s table.