BP oil spill: Suicide of fisherman ‘distraught at spill’
BP faced a further blow in the Gulf of Mexico amid reports that a fisherman forced to take a job as one of its clean-up workers killed himself after becoming upset about the oil spill.
By Rowena Mason
24 Jun 2010
Captain William Allen-Kruse was found dead with a gun on board his boat by fellow workers. Coroner Stan Vinson told US media that witnesses believe Mr Kruse, who had been a charter boat fisherman for 20 years, had been distraught at the spill.
He said: “Witnesses told investigators that Mr Kruse had been upset about the loss of business caused by the closing of fishing grounds and public perceptions of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“All the waters are closed. There’s no charter business any more. You go out on some of the beaches now, with the oil, you can’t even get in the water. It’s really crippled the tourism and fishing industry here.”
BP extended its condolences to the family of the worker and the Coast Guard’s Admiral Thad Allen, who is co-ordinating the response to the spill, called the death “devastating”.
BP’s share price fell a further 2.5pc on Thursday to 325¼p, amid concerns that a hurricane next week could worsen the impact of the spill as it hampers clean-up work. A tropical wave over the western Caribbean could develop into a depression over the next couple of days as it moves toward the Gulf of Mexico, causing a storm, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
BP was under further pressure after the US put its plans to start drilling a well near Alaska under review. President Barack Obama ordered a ban on new offshore deepwater drilling following the explosion on
BP’s rig that killed 11 men.
But BP had the project classified as onshore because it is on an artificial island built by the oil company three miles off the Alaskan coast. Ken Salazar, the US interior Secretary, was grilled by lawmakers about whether this was safe. “We are looking into the issue right now,” he told them.
A review of the well comes as a Louisiana judge stuck to his decision to lift the moratorium on deepwater drilling, forcing the US administration to appeal the ruling
at a higher court.
Chris Huhne, Britain’s Energy Secretary, on Thursday insisted that North Sea regulations were sufficient. He admitted there is cause for “concern given the beginning of exploration of deeper UK waters west of Shetland… but I am confident the UK’s regulatory regime is in good shape to manage the risks of deepwater drilling.”
BP’s well is still leaking into the Gulf of Mexico more than 60 days after the accident. It has been capturing up to 27,000 barrels of oil out of an estimated 65,000 daily, but was forced to suspend this operation on Wednesday when a sub-sea robot collided with safety equipment. The capturingoperation re-started after a 12-hour outage that left oil flowing largely unchecked into the ocean once again.
Sky News reported on Thursday night that BP is considering selling its $9bn stake in Pan America, a South American joint venture, as part of a programme of asset disposals.