Qui Lam

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History


NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History documents the experience of people living in Gulf  of Mexico  oil-spill-affected fishing communities. The oral history data complements other social and economic data about the spill collected by NOAA and other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Date of Interview

Ha Do
Angel Truong Phan
Linda VanZandt

Biographical Sketch

Qui Lam is a Vietnamese-American shrimper living in Houma, Louisiana. Mr. Qui Lam was born in 1961, one of eight children, near the city of Rach Gia, South Vietnam. His father’s name was Bung Lam. His mother’s name was Hui Trang. Mr. Lam is of Chinese and Vietnamese descent. At a young age, Mr. Lam traveled with his father by boat to the market to help buy merchandise to resell in his stores, which were later taken by the Communist regime. After 1975, Mr. Lam began shrimping to earn a living, in addition to growing watermelon and potatoes. Mr. Lam married his wife, Huong Thanh Ho, at age eighteen. After being forced to cleanup bombs in Cambodia, he arranged his escape from Vietnam in 1987, leaving with his wife, their four children, and more than sixty others. Mr. Lam and his family spent time in refugee camps in Pulau Bidong, Malaysia, and the Philippines, before landing in Panama City, Florida. After three months in Florida, the family settled in Chauvin, Louisiana. Mr. Lam worked as a deckhand and in crabbing before purchasing his own skimmer boat. He has been shrimping the Louisiana waters since, primarily on his boat Miss Sue, named after his youngest daughter who was born in the United States. Mr. Lam and his wife became United States citizens in 2009. Together they have five children.

Scope and Content Note:
He discusses Life in Vietnam; Communist Vietnam after 1975; father?s market in Vietnam; perspectives on Vietnam War; Tet Offensive; difficulty making a living reason for escape; fall of Saigon and escape; 8-day journey at sea; Thai pirates and rescue by Malaysian fishermen; shrimping in Vietnam compared to in US; forced labor for Viet Cong; refugee camps in Philippines and Malaysia; moving to Louisiana; crab factory; achieving citizenship; skimmer boats; Hurricane Katrina and BP oil spill impacts (lost wages, etc.); TED regulations; working as a deckhand; assessment of industry future; BP claims process and Vessels of Opportunity program; farm-raised fishing; making nets; efficient design on boat; work ethic; tour of his boat Miss Sue; costs of shrimping over the years.

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