A special oil-spill class set up by BP Tuesday to train Vietnamese fishers in their native language went poorly, with translators giving up just minutes into the four-hour session, and bilingual audience members struggling to fill the gap, one observer said. Those attending got the necessary certification and are qualified to be called into service by BP, but it’s not clear how many in the class of 200 people comprehended the oil-cleanup and safety information presented.
Today, the City of New Orleans announced a special oil spill job training session put on by BP in eastern New Orleans that will be held, well, today. On Friday, BP representative Hugh Depland arranged for a training session catering to the Vietnamese community, to be held at the Mary Queen of Vietnam church, at the request of the church’s pastor, the Rev. Vien Nguyen.
The Rev. Vien Nguyen, pastor of the Mary Queen of Vietnam church, waited patiently through hours of talk from BP, Coast Guard, state and federal representatives, and questions from his congregation before finally raising his own question: “Of the fishers BP has hired, are over 50 percent of them Vietnamese?” “I don’t know the answer to that,” said Hugh Depland, who BP sent to meet with the Vietnamese community in eastern New Orleans.