Ran Bui

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

Carol Short
Linda VanZandt

Principal Investigator

Ran Bui is a Vietnamese-American shrimper in Biloxi, Mississippi. Mr. Ran Bui was born in 1960, one of eleven children, and raised in the port city of Vung Tau in southern Vietnam. Mr. Bui’s parents are originally from Hai Phong in the north of Vietnam. His father, Canh Bui, was a member of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnamese Army) and a fisherman; his mother, Mau Thi Nguyen, fished with the family and worked for a seafood company processing oysters and shrimp. Mr. Bui began fishing with his father at age eleven. He was raised in the Catholic Church and attended Catholic school in Vung Tau. Mr. Bui and his family escaped Vietnam from Vung Tau, on their boat, just days before the fall of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. They were eventually picked up by an American ship and transported to the Philippines. After stays on another island, then Guam, they landed at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas. In 1977, after living in Oklahoma, Mr. Bui and his family moved to Biloxi and began shrimping the Mississippi Sound. He and his wife Lynn Bui have four children. Their boat is named Lady Sariah after their first grandchild. 

Scope and Content Note
The oral history interview with Ran Bui, conducted by Linda VanZandt and interpreted by Angel Truong Phan, delves into Bui's experiences as a fisherman in Vietnam and the Gulf Coast. The interview covers Bui's fishing practices, including the variety of catches, methods of selling, and differences between fishing regulations in Vietnam and the United States. Bui also discusses his family's financial struggles and his father's service in the South Vietnamese Army. The interview provides insights into Bui's upbringing, including his education and upbringing in a Catholic family, as well as his experiences during the Vietnam War and the subsequent journey to the United States as a teenager. Additionally, the interview touches on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Bui's fishing livelihood, detailing the assistance received and the challenges faced in the aftermath of the disaster. The interview concludes with reflections on resilience and the determination to overcome adversity. 

Subjects: life in Vung Tau, Vietnam; family fishing business; father as soldier; differences fishing in Vietnam versus America; marketing catch; Catholic school in Vietnam; Vietnam War (helping civilians escape from Phan Thiet to Vung Tau) and Communist takeover; life under Communism; dangerous escape; picked up by American ship; time in camp at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; sponsorship to chicken farm in Oklahoma; move to Biloxi and beginning to shrimp; hurricanes of 1985 and Katrina; BP oil spill impact on shrimp and community; Katrina recovery versus oil spill recovery; working in oil spill cleanup effort; decrease in shrimp population and size; losing money shrimping; assessment of future; sea turtle deaths and TEDs; retraining for other occupations; TAA program; dangers in shrimping; taking safety classes; wife's loss of job post-Katrina; family fishing together; Lady Sariah boat; hopes for children; reciprocity in fishing community; finding shrimp; overcoming obstacles in life; raising bicultural/bilingual children; Biloxi Vietnamese population moving north.

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The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.