Protecting Their Own

Tuesday, June 29th – 5:18PM

Destin, FL – We’ve previously mentioned efforts by Gulf residents to take matters into their own hands and protect the shores that they call home. Whether it’s a fisherman and his crew employed by BP’s Vessels of Opportunity or a lone woman scooping oil off the beach, many residents have begun to take action. While the views on BP and the government’s cleanup efforts vary amongst them, these people share one common goal; protecting their beaches, homes, and livelihoods. Guy Santucci of Destin, Florida is just one of these people. Unhappy with the efforts he’s seen BP take to clean the oil and prevent its further spread, Guy has spent the last couple months creating a custom-built oil-skimmer.

Custom small scale oil-skimmer made in Destin, Florida

With these boats in short supply and high demand, he hopes to contribute what he can to the efforts, and hope that BP takes notice along the way. If they did, they might think about enlisting more people like him that have the will and ability to help, but lack a place within the BP and the Unified Command’s cleanup structure. Running his own landscaping business and raising a son, Guy has already poured countless hours and much of his life savings into the skimmer. While his efforts go on neglected, BP’s Vessels of Opportunity is paying boat captains anywhere from $1,200 to over $2,000 a day to put forth largely superficial cleanup efforts.

We recently went out on the Gulf with Guy and his skimmer, which was mounted on the front half of a reliable old pontoon boat. It was a typical first test run, complete with minor glitches but showing certain promise. As Guy fine-tunes the machinery and puts his last touches on the final product, millions of gallons of unrefined oil loom in the Gulf and one fact remains; it could take a million Guys to do the job that needs to be done. As cleanup crews all along the coast grow in number their efforts remain hindered by the fact that they don’t possess the same personal drive. The people in command, BP executives, politicians, Coast Guard officers, could all truly care every bit as much as Guy Santucci does about keeping the Gulf clean and it wouldn’t matter if the people they have on the ground, on the front lines, aren’t motivated to work as hard as they can. Simply put, this is a too great an obstacle to overcome with efforts anything short of exceptional. BP is clearly lacking the necessary urgency, apparently unaware of the fact that this might very well be the worst man-made disaster in human history and one that will require a corresponding effort to counteract.

Cleanup workers on Pensacola Beach

What does it say when BP’s mandatory training programs encourage their workers to not to rush and to take their time? Certainly, worker safety and welfare are not to be jeopardized or taken lightly, but the reality is that this crisis requires a full-steam ahead approach. And so bright spots dot the darkness as people like Guy Santucci do all they can and hope for help, the question is who will answer?


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