Hawaii workers helping cleanup gulf oil spill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii workers helping cleanup gulf oil spill

Rusty Nall Rusty Nall

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It is day 72 of the Gulf oil disaster and more than 140 million gallons of oil have spilled.  That's a new record for the gulf.  A dozen Hawaii men are there right now helping the cleanup efforts.  They were called to work because of their specialty skills and are glad to put them to use.

"Our business is to be prepared for oil spills," said Rusty Nall, Executive Vice President, Pacific Environmental Corporation (PENCO).

PENCO is based at Pier 14 near Aloha Tower.  Now they're contracted out by the Marine Spill Response Center which is ultimately being paid by BP, the company responsible for the oil leak.

"What we've been asked to do is support some of the other major players in the gulf," said Nall.

The Hawaii workers are either sucking up the oil from the ocean's surface or assisting in middle management roles overseeing the overall operation.

"We have marine expertise. We work on the water a lot, we have a lot of small boat handling experience and we deal with spills quite often. Our people know how to run these skimmers, they know how to operate the equipment that is down there that is specialized for this kind of work," said Nall.

They're working 12 hours a day, seven days a week and are staying together in a house in Grand Isle, Louisiana.  It's a six week rotation. Then another Hawaii team will take their place.

"You know that's one of the nice things about being in the oil response business, you always feel like you're the good guy and that you're helping cleanup the world's environment and doing a good thing," said Nall.

They still have enough people in Hawaii should there be a spill here. 

Hurricane Alex did affect the Hawaii crews.  They weren't able to go out on the boats but they were able to help clean up some of the shoreline.

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