A lawsuit was filed on September 8th in a Texas District Court by one of the crew members of drillship Noble Globetrotter II (IMO 9600786).
The Liberian-flagged drillship and its 100-plus crew were located 80nm south- southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana when hurricane Ida hit at the end of August.
The vessel’s US licensed master maintained shortly after the hurricane that the drillship was never in distress and that it was not actively taking on water (see IMN, September 3rd and subsequent dates). However, social media posts claiming to be from Noble Globetrotter II crew members pointed out potential safety issues, including possible hull damage.
Noble Corp said after the hurricane passed through that all workers aboard three of its drillships in the US Gulf of Mexico were safe and accounted for following the storm.
Noble Corp said that Noble Globetrotter II “maintained stability throughout the weather event and is operating on its own power with functional marine and safety systems”.
The suit alleges that the defendants, which include Shell Oil Company and Noble Drilling Services Inc, did not care about the risks posed and continued to operate the vessel in direct defiance of the National Hurricane Centre’s forecast.
According to the lawsuit, after unlatching on August 28, the Globetrotter II headed directly into Hurricane Ida. It states that the ship’s chosen course took it within 10 miles of the storm’s eye wall and exposed the crew to 150 mile per hour winds and 80-foot 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 suit read.
The plaintiff alleges that he suffered several injuries during the storm, including constant headaches, pain to his neck, back shoulders and other parts of his body. The plaintiff also claims to have suffered “emotional disturbance as a result of the Defendant’s’ actions including anxiety, difficulty in focusing and concentration, sleep disturbance and more.” The lawsuit is seeking a monetary relief of more than $1mn.
2012-built, Liberia-flagged, 35,676 gt Noble Globetrotter II is owned by Bully I Switzerland care of Noble Drilling US LLC of Sugar Land, Texas, USA.