There is skimming and skimming.
A few online articles and then Blogs picking on those articles have been portraying Eric Vial and the Ecoceane skimmers as the victims of Politics hiding behind the Jones Act.
I do not know if Eric Vial lied in person to them.
I know for a fact that the information about the Ecoceane Skimmers is untrue.
I am an independent journalist and was on assignment in the USA for one week in early June to cover this particular Issue for the Figaro Magazine, a French News and Entertainment magazine.
At the time a newly launched environmental group, The Blues Seals were trying their best to get those boats in.
Those shimmers would have been long in the water if that had been Eric Vial’s intention.
Eric Vial, the CEO of Ecoceane, whose English is sketchy at best met on the 10th of June with a BP official and a Coast Guard decider whose name he could not remember to present what he calls his proposition.
The blue Seals had offered to pay to ship all available Ecoceane skimmers to the gulf and politicians like Congressman Bob Filner from San Diego, CA had vowed to help brake the Jones Act if needed.
There was a press conference held to that effect in New Orleans on the 8th of June.
What really delayed those boats was Greed.
It was Eric Vial who chose to wait.
I attended a meeting Between Ecoceane’e team and the Blue Seals financiers on the 10th of June.
It was held in Eric Vial’s suite on the 14th floor of the Intercontinental hotel.
I actually acted as an interpreter that day to try and avoid some of the discrepancies I had heard on the day of the press conference.
The fact is that Eric Vial was waiting for BP to make a commercial decision.
Also this would have been his favourite choice, he was actual waiting for any one willing to purchase his boats cash for that matter.
Vial reminded me in an interview produced on the 13th of June in New Orleans Louisiana. « If we were to put and use our boats in the gulf now it would be under our responsibility as the owners.
We can not afford to take such risks. We sale boats. If Blue Seals want to purchase boats I will sale them boats.
So if originally the American Government and BP may not have chosen to retain the offer for the French skimmers, made by the French government, ultimately the Jones Act is not what delayed the French Skimmers intervention.
The Ecoceane boats were never refused access in the USA under that pretence.
On the 22th of June Eric Vial wrote to me that the Jones Act if now officially waived for the Ecocean vessels.
I have since obtained a copy of the said waiver.
Eric Vial sold all of his boats shortly after that to AshBritt who had to pay the whole 2 million Euros upfront.
Unfortunately for Ecoceane that sale included the trial vessel that had just landed in Port Everglades leaving them with nothing to show for but Videos.
I will add here that the Blue Seals had offered to help set up the construction, the assembly of 100 ecoceane skimmers in the gulf states using War Veterans.
Eric Vial was only interested if Ecoceane was to head that effort through a joint venture.
What he was proposing and really interested to skim was not oil but a large profit margin.
Every Story has more than one angle.
The truth is that BP was never interested by skimmers.
What can be skimmed can be accounted for.
Deciders at BP had chosen instead very early on to repeat and better the use of Dispersant as in 1979 Ixtoc 1 incident.
Corexit was already used then.
(yet every one claims the effect of dispersant on wildlife in the gulf were never studied.)
A policy of hiding evidences that is well illustrated by the different once the well was capped between CG Admiral Thad Allen and BP about reopening the valves and collecting all of the oil on board the various vessel as planned.
If they had done so we might have actually known the actual flow on July 15th and that could have been very dangerous for BP.