NEW ORLEANS -- The new federal paymaster for BP damage claims is now officially in charge the process.
Washington lawyer Ken Feinberg is administering BP's $20 billion victims fund.
'The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is now up and running,' Feinberg told a townhall meeting in Biloxi on Monday.
Business at claims centers across the New Orleans area was brisk.
People filling out new claims forms say the transition from BP was pretty smooth.
'It was quick and easy, a few questions to ask and that was pretty much it,' said longshoreman Sherman Calice.
Others say there was a first-day computer glitch that prevented some people from filing their claims online.
'I'm really coming in today to get more detail because my employees tried to make claims this morning on line and of course they were rejected with a lot of problems with the website,' said Bill Borges of the New Orleans Fish House.
Some people complained about BP's plan to deduct the money fishermen made pulling boom and responding to the oil spill with the Vessels of Opportunity program from the losses they can claim.
'They were going to have to pay somebody, whether it was us or somebody else,' said Shell Beach fisherman Rudy Gonzales.
New Orleans attorney Walter Leger said he doesn't like it, but BP has a legal right to deduct the VOO payments.
'BP takes the position here that well, we did provide you some work, so you have to account for that money and you're not going to account for it in making the claim,' said Leger.
Leger is suing BP on behalf of St. Bernard Parish. He said he's concerned that some people may hurt their chances in future lawsuits against the company, if they fill out the new claims form incorrectly.
'One of the big concerns however is, by answering these questions, your answers will be used against you in the future,' said Leger. 'So, hopefully people are answering the questions and filling out the form with a lot of thought and consideration as to what they're saying.'
Meanwhile, Feinberg promises payouts from his claims process will be more generous than those from any court.
'File a claim,' he said. 'I can't help you if you don't file.'
So far, BP has paid out nearly $400 million in claims since the April 20 rig explosion in the Gulf.