The economic losses resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Spill nearly three years ago are still reverberating among those whose livelihood depended on the waters off the Gulf of Mexico, the area worst affected by the oil spill. These include fishers, and those working in the related seafood and tourism industries in Louisiana. The oil spill, rated as one of the worst ecological disasters in petroleum industry history, affected 60,683 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico, or 25% of prime fishing waters.
The Deepwater Horizon is a semi-submersible deep water drilling oil rig owned by Transocean, provided well-completion service by Halliburton Co., and chartered by BP to drill an exploratory well located in the Macondo Prospect off the Louisiana coast. The cause of the April 20, 2010 explosion that sank the rig, claimed 11 lives, and decanted more than 4 million barrels of oil into the sea has yet to be determined, but there is no question that it resulted from the negligent actions of those responsible for the Deepwater Horizon operations.
Among the hardest hit by this disaster have been small entrepreneurs and independent fishers who depended on their catch to sustain their businesses and families. Immediately after the explosion, the demand for Gulf seafood products, which supplies more than 30% of the US market, dropped drastically as news of possible contamination spread. This led to closure of many businesses and sharply raised the prices of seafood in the US due to reduced supply. The economic loss affected thousands of people, culminating in civil and criminal charges against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and Cameron International Corporation, which provided the blowout preventer that was supposed to prevent inadvertent oil spills but which failed in its function.
Fortunately, many of those who have suffered business economic losses are taking legal action to pursue compensation for the losses they have been forced to endure.