News / USA

Gulf Oil Spill Presents New Challenges to Vietnamese Fishermen in Louisiana

Multimedia

Nathan King

In southern Louisiana, idled fishermen whose fertile fish and shrimping grounds are closed due to that massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are scrambling for another kind of work. British Petroleum is recruiting local crews and boats for the clean up effort. Among the groups hoping for work are the Vietnamese and Cambodian fisherman who live along the Gulf Coast.

They come in large numbers, recruited by BP to help in the clean up. Most speak Vietnamese or Cambodian. According to the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, approximately 80 percent of commercial fishing licenses in the state are owned by people with Asian surnames.

In his office, Tuan Nyguen fills out the necessary paper work.

Nyguen moved here in the 1980s like many fellow Vietnamese from the fishing regions of the Mekong Delta. He has built a thriving wholesale business, but not without setbacks. Hurricane Katrina wiped him out in 2005. "During Katrina, I lost everything - everything here brand new-brand new," he said.

Nyguen says he has already used his savings to pay fishermen who can't fish and now he is contemplating working for BP - the first time he will work for anyone but himself. "I never done it in my life - I don't, know kind of hard, that's why I am still here - unemployed," he said.

Fellow Vietnamese Chamroeun Kang is hoping to work for BP. He has this shrimp boat and a small skiff -- his wife and he the only crew. Since the shrimping grounds were shut they have lost their livelihood. His only catch today - a catfish caught in the harbor. "I got two boat (sic). I have one big one and one small one right here. If they hire me I go to what boat they want and I would be go  because I need to make money for living you know," he said.

Making this life change is hard on all fishermen, but for the Vietnamese and Cambodians here, the language barrier is an added obstacle in trying to reach out to BP for work and compensation. Members of this community say they're determined to show the same resolve over the coming months as they did 20 years ago when they moved here to start a new life.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid