by Dahr Jamail
(Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
Joe Yerkes is a Florida fisherman who joined BP's Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) oil cleanup program because he was put out of work by BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
Following the 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11, a sea-floor oil gusher flowed for 87 days until it was capped nearly three months later.
The disaster, which began on April 20, 2010, released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, coupled with 1.9 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants that BP and the US Coast Guard used. Yerkes was exposed to both oil and dispersants while working to clean up oil during his stint in the VOO program. "I have spent the years since the spill happened literally trying to survive," Yerkes told Truthout. "I've lost five friends now who were also exposed to BP's oil and dispersants, who were unable to seek proper treatment to extract the chemicals from their bodies before the exposure killed them." MORE