3,700 ready to respond

By KAREN NELSON – klnelson@sunherald.com

BILOXI

They’ll tell you where they’re from, but otherwise they won’t comment — the hundreds of men and women who’ve been brought in to the Mississippi Coast to work on the BP oil spill.

Almost 3,700 are here now, although as time passes workers who had been brought in from all over the U.S. are being replaced by Mississippians.

More than 40 percent are local now, a BP spokeswoman said.

The major deployment areas the company has set up along the Coast from Pascagoula to Waveland are like hives, with workers moving in and out near rows and rows of equipment for vacuuming, hauling, bagging and moving about the roads, bayous and open water.

BP’s Marti Powers said the company has contracted with more than 160 companies — some as far away as Norway and some as close as Ocean Springs. Those companies, in turn, hire work forces set to hit the ground running.

Mum’s the word

They’re well-schooled on not talking, and each of the major deployment sites has a makeshift security-guard stand.

At BP’s “north staging” area, one of two near the industrial area off the east end of Ingalls Avenue in Pascagoula on Tuesday, the Sun Herald was greeted by an armed security guard wearing a Taser and a local police department shirt who said, “Nobody comes by here who’s not authorized. That’s all I can tell you.”

That’s the norm at each site, Powers said.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/05/25/2209727/3700-ready-to-respond.html#ixzz0p3a5opJW

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