Drillship worker sues Shell, Noble Corp., claiming he was left in Hurricane Ida's path
Controversy is brewing over an ultra-deepwater drillship in the Gulf of Mexico that was hit by Hurricane Ida and reportedly nearly capsized.
According to Upstream, following Globetrotter II's exposure to the effects of Hurricane Ida's 150 mph winds and punishing rain, Noble Corporation has declared force majeure on a drilling contract with Shell.
A force majeure clause, commonly found in maritime contracts, relieves the parties to the contract of their obligations and liabilities when circumstances beyond their control prevent them from performing under the contract.
Noble said the crew members that were onboard the Globetrotter II shortly after the hurricane were not in danger living quarters were operating normally.
But one crewmember is actively taking issue with this claim and reportedly filing a lawsuit against Shell Oil Company, Noble Drilling Services, Inc. and others.
The lawsuit claims Globetrotter II was ordered on a course that put it within ten miles of the eye of Hurricane Ida on August 28.
“Despite the undeniable path of the oncoming storm,” the lawsuit alleges, “Defendants continued to operate the vessel in direct defiance of the National Hurricane center’s forecast.”
According to the lawsuit, the worker was “exposed to 150 mile per hour winds and 80-ft swells. On board, ferocious sea tossed the crew around and threw them into walls. The Globetrotter II was swaying so severely side-to-side that the crew was forced to walk on walls. The sway was so extreme that the Globetrotter II almost capsized several times. The entire crew believed they were going to die.”
The lawsuit alleges the crewmember sustained bodily injuries, specifically “including constant headaches, pain to his neck, back, shoulder and other parts of his body.
He also says he suffers from emotional disturbance . . . including anxiety, difficulty in focusing and concentration, sleep disturbance, and more.”
The lawsuit seeks monetary relief of more than $1 million, a figure that represents the minimum required to establish jurisdiction in the court.
The crewmember behind the lawsuit is represented by Kurt Arnold of Arnold & Itkin LLP.