KEPT AT SEA FOR 40 HOURS  2:43 pm May 25, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Kept Oil Rig Survivors Detained Until They Signed Legal Documents

by Ken Layne

Jesus christ.The workers who survived the awful explosion of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil rig weren’t simply taken back to shore after their harrowing escape and rescue — instead, according to lawyers for the survivors and interviews with The Guardian, they were detained for up to 40 hours at sea, unable to even call their families until they had signed legal documents absolving Deepwater Horizon.

Lawyers say the isolation was deliberate and that Transocean was trying to wear the men down so they would sign statements denying that they had been hurt or that they had witnessed the explosion that destroyed the rig.

The White House just announced that Barack Obama is going to the Gulf on Friday to, who knows, yell at BP. [Guardian/Yahoo News via Cryptogon]

 
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{ 70 comments }

actor212 May 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

“Bud, we’ll get you a doctor, but you have to sign here first.”

Aurelio May 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Deepwater Horizon/BP oil rig = Gitmo annex.

JMP May 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Huh, one would think a corporation as big as BP would have some lawyers working for them who could explain the concept of duress. Not only are those waivers not worth shit, they’ve now got an added claim for false imprisonment against tem.

TGY May 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Yeah, that seems about par for the course.

Baldar T Flagass May 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Alt/text win for pithiness.

Troubledog May 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Honestly, BP doesn’t have any responsibility here at all. If anything, BP is the damaged party. I’m sick of these un-American socialists and their blame-game gotcha politics.

memzilla May 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm

You know who we need to go talk to the management of British Petroleum? BETTY F***IN’ WHITE: http://images.cheezburger.com/completestore/2009/9/23/128981853475061005.jpg

bfstevie May 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Whiney malcontents! Don’t they know that “accidents happen”? I know a “doctor” who will attest to the fact that these malingers are just fine. Sounds unAmerican to me.

Extemporanus May 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

[re=584674]actor212[/re]: Ed Harris was really good in The Abyss.

torera May 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

This was reported earlier… I hope Obama fires Thad Allen’s ass. Some supposed expert said last night on the teevee that there are 600 ships out there floating around what is basically a sea of oil. I understand that the guvmint doesn’t have Navy Seals or dolphins or even robots that can fix the spewing well; I will even buy the story that “experts” from several oil companies and universities and who knows whatall are meeting every day to brainstorm fixes. What I want to know is where the hell are the battalions of unemployed cleaning up the shoreline? Guvmint CAN mobilize people and set up temporary cities, so why isn’t FEMA or someone doing that??

plowman May 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

And we feign surprise while filling our Suburban’s 90 gallon tank. This kind of crap has gone on for years, though usually on a smaller scale, talk to any oil rig worker who’s been around the block a few times, been injured, etc…

SmutBoffin May 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Hahaha. Perfect. Anyone not forcibly kicked out of the American workforce by layoffs or made to work for pennies in menial service sector jobs is subjected to atrocious abuses at the hands of their transnational employers.

And anyone who objects to the present system of modern industrial feudalism is a goddam COMMUNIST! Now say it with me: USA USA USA!!!!

chascates May 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Gitmo is too good for any terrorist that would contemplate suing an oil company over a horrendous incident they survivied!

RoscoePColtraine May 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

These werkers were lucky to have been given jobs in the furst place. Now is the time for them to show there graditood by having the curstey to sign the damn form!!!!!1!

Extemporanus May 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm

In retrospect, BP should’ve never hired Somalis to operate its oil rig.

SlouchingTowardsWasilla May 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm

[re=584679]JMP[/re]: With this supreme court? They were clearly being held so their benevolent employers could provide medical attention. Sheesh, u paranoid librels…

Fox n Fiends May 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

[re=584687]memzilla[/re]: DRILL BETTY DRILL

Gratuitous World May 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

The Muslim oil rig workers are always the least thankful.

RoscoePColtraine May 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

WHY DOES MEXICO GET TO HAVE A GULF?

Johnny Zhivago May 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

[re=584693]chascates[/re]: Exactly. It probably would have been a lot cheaper to just leave them there as it burned. Talk about ungrateful!

And obviously someone forgot to turn off the oil valve while they were making their (apparently hasty) escape.

Aurelio May 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I wonder if BP made these guys listen to Metallica at full blast with earphones.

Johnny Zhivago May 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

[re=584700]Gratuitous World[/re]: True, but it’s more the fault of the Democrat Party – by offering free healthcare to everyone. If the workers assumed they would die, they would have stayed on the rig to stop the leak.

SayItWithWookies May 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Yep, America is definitely turning into a socialist paradise — even now the guys cleaning up the mess (at $10 an hour instead of the several hundred dollars a day they earned fishing) are wondering why they were never issued respirators or other proper safety equipment and are suffering from dizzy spells, nausea and tingling nerves. And they don’t want to complain because they’re afraid they’ll get fired. Think about that for a minute. Why the bastards who did this aren’t holed up in a castle with an angry peasant mob on the other side of the moat is beyond me.

plowman May 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I heard through a trusworthy source (in the bleachers at a T-ball game from a guy wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt) that a NORTH KOREAN SUBMARINE torpedoed the Deepwater Horizon thus setting all this in motion. This is probably what the legal documents were really all about, the gubbment don’t want nobody to know ’bout them North Korean subs in the Gulf…

Sharkey May 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm
JMP May 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

[re=584694]RoscoePColtraine[/re]: And hey, they were only stuck at sea for 40 hours; Odysseus was trapped at sea for 10 years before he got to talk to his wife, and had to fight the Cyclops and other shit first, but you didn’t hear him whining!1!!

d23 May 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

[re=584708]SayItWithWookies[/re]: because we have become conditioned to corporate rule. Talk to any of your non-deep thinking friends or acquaintances and you’ll see it’s true.

Come here a minute May 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Not only were they forced to sign the forms, they were told it was going to be a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour.

Zadig May 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm

[re=584708]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Truly, labor unions that allow workers to negotiate as a cohesive unit are the greatest threat to America.

magic titty May 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm

They also confiscated their cameras, which contained explicit photographic evidence of the grassy knoll rifleman.

stew May 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

[re=584704]Aurelio[/re]: Nah, Sarah Palin shrieking “Drill Baby Drill” with extra treble.

Baby who ate the Dingo May 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

BP Lawyer: “Sign zee paper, old man!”

Old Man: “But I can’t..”

BP: “Vy Not?!?”

Old Man: “You’ve broken both of my hands”

Troubledog May 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm

When you need somebody to, you know, clean up some oil, just do what our grandparents did. Just head down there with a chicken.

RoscoePColtraine May 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm

[re=584720]d23[/re]: Oh, it’s true alright! One of the happiest days in a man’s life is the day he first punches the clock at 0545 and starts being a productive, hard-working member of society. He stocks his basement playroom/bar full of mugs and glassware bearing the company logo!

E-lite-Marxist May 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm

[re=584690]torera[/re]: Continuing w/the non-snark… Agreed. But what really infuriates me is that Barry isn’t using this & the WV mining disaster to push & strengthen the energy bill. And w/Young Mr Paul in the news of late, why he can’t be making a strong case for the need for regulation & the sheer insanity of libertarianism in light of these disasters… and Wall St would fit into this message-paradigm too. It’s unbelievably frustrating. Arghh!

mumblyjoe May 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Wow, unlawful imprisonment and coerced contract-slavery, courtesy of our corporate overlords? You can practically smell the liberty*! Or, at least Rand Paul the Randroid Paultard can!

*Note: For reference for the uninitiated,”liberty” happens to smell identical to tar balls. PROVEN SCIENTIFIC FACT.

snideinplainsight May 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Must be McBride!

HMS Nerd May 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Those contracts are likely unenforceable due to duress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duress#In_contract_law

BP – the Suge Knight (http://hiphop.sh/suge?page=0%2C1) of oil rig employment contracts.

norbizness May 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm

This must be some of that free enterprise them strange fellers at the Wall Street Journal are always caterwaulin’ about.

WadISay May 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

[re=584690]torera[/re]: This is work that, in GWB’s words, Americans don’t want to do. Needs moar Messicuns.

Naked Bunny with a Whip May 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm

And the libertarians wonder why we mock them.

RoscoePColtraine May 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

[re=584745]Naked Bunny with a Whip[/re]: You know what a Libertarian is? A Libertarian is a Conservative who’s never been locked up on a burning oil rig.

Geogre May 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm

ThinkProgress had been reporting on this for a few days. This is the kind of bull crap that our kind and benevolent corporate overlords think is “good business.” In fact, they will say, when they are subpoenaed, that they were engaging in “industry practice.”

That means that they heard that a coal company did it to the corpse of a miner, so that makes it ok.

Further, they’ll tell their stock people that they deserve bonuses, because they’re so good at avoiding litigation. Good vs. “good at”…. Why are the evangelicals on the side of the right?

schvitzatura May 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm

What is the “maximum justifiable spend” on a remote-control, acoustical valve equipped-BOP? Or refinery employee worksite shelters, prior to the 2005 Texas City BP boomboomtime incident?

BP needs John Nash-level maths to help them out of a bind on this one, fo shiz.

If the Transocean workers had only created a Facebook group (CAN WE GET A MILLION SCREAMING FB BASTARDS WHO WILL STORM TRANSOCEAN HQ AND RIDE MANAGEMENT OUT ON A RAIL?) decrying their company’s conduct, they’da won the day!

V572625694 May 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm

[re=584748]RoscoePColtraine[/re]: Ha ha! Here’s another: a Libertarian is a Republican with mirrored sunglasses.

problemwithcaring May 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Today, we are all crew members of the Blame Game society.

Prommie May 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

That oil well thingy still going on?

V572625694 May 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm

By Davis’s estimate, it took 12-15 minutes to get from the rig to the work boat, but it would take another 36-40 hours before they were to return to shore – even though there were dozens of boats in the area and Coast Guard helicopters airlifting the most severely injured to hospital.

Some of the men were openly furious, while others, like Davis, were just numb. He says they were denied access to the onboard satellite phone or radio to call their families.

When the ship finally did move, it did not head for shore directly, stopping at two more rigs to collect and drop off engineers and coast guard crew before arriving at Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

Jeebus Christ these people are heartless!

caieva May 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm

You have to actually get something in return for signing your name for there to even be the potential it’s legal. So what’d they get? Release from captivity? A chance to see a doctor?

JMP May 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I am just shocked that so many of you are joining in the blame game and unfairly attacking BP again. Look, sometimes people make mistakes, and might accidentally lock their employees up on a boat for almost two days after they’ve escaped a deadly explosion until they’ve signed an illegal waiver.

Haven’t any of you ever misplaced your keys? This kind of thing just happens sometimes, but it’s nobody’s fault.

schvitzatura May 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm

[re=584756]V572625694[/re]: A simple transportation logistics minimax problem any 3rd-year B-school undergrad worth their salt could have prolly figured out.

Or a snowballing PR nightmare, covered in a hard-candy shell, with a creamy liquid center…you decide!

GOPCrusher May 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I don’t think anyone can be surprised by this, since the corporation is everything. The thing that will surprise me will be the people that defend BP for doing this. And these poor bastards that signed will be the same ones that BP will say that are not covered by their claim to cover any legitimate lawsuits stemming from this accident.

ph7 May 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

The Invisible Hand forged their signatures.

BobTheBuilder May 25, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Now, now. I’m sure whoever at BP who was responsible for this was given a stern dressing-down. Especially since it apparently didn’t work.

Real DC Native May 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm

[re=584691]plowman[/re]: And the people with Suburbans sneer and look down at me when I take the subway and the bus to work or, heavens! ride my bike and the bus. I’ve been doing that for 3 years now and when I drive I drive a compact. Never owned a gas guzzler in my life and feel no need to.

I guess that makes me a dumbshit communist liberal.

Darkness May 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Welcome to our libertarian paradise. Would you like an AK-47 or an M-16 to go along with that carload of groceries?

The White House just announced that Barack Obama is going to the Gulf on Friday to, who knows, yell at BP.
I hear gitmo’s still open. Enemies of the state, anyone? Okay, just my crazy fantasy. Barry is waaay too nice a guy.

Bearbloke May 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

[re=584843]Real DC Native[/re]: Commie!

Mr Blifil May 25, 2010 at 4:52 pm

[re=584756]V572625694[/re]: The take-away from that story that I get is: chumps are lucky they made it back to shore alive at all.

Let’s recollect that it was a right wing radio show that claimed to have the testimony from a survivor of the accident on it’s phone lines, during or only slightly after the moratorium on communication was imposed on these poor fucking bastards.

sati demise May 25, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Must have been the Halliburton guys suggestion. They keep rape victims in box cars, so a couple of workers held hostage on a boat is no big deal.

natteringnabomb May 25, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Oil boarding is legal in Cuban waters.

Enslave the Whales May 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

[re=584736]mumblyjoe[/re]: I love the smell of tarballs in the morning…..smells like LIBERTY.
/cue Ride of the Valkyries.

One Yield Regular May 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

[re=584690]torera[/re]: Somehow, I don’t think someone who’s been unemployed for x-number of months or years is going to be particularly happy to get a phone call from FEMA offering inadequate wages that Republicans won’t support anyway and that BP will fight paying with far more energy than they’re putting into ending the leak, just for the chance to leave their families and social support networks to risk their own health by cleaning up a corporation’s crappy toxic mess while getting to live in a substandard trailer in a swamp in the middle of a Louisiana summer. I say, make every BP/Halliburton/Transocean employee take leave without pay for the next six months to get down there and clean it up themselves.

mumblyjoe May 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm

[re=584775]JMP[/re]: And if anyone knows how easy it is to make that particular “accidental mistake”, it’s BP’s subcontractors at Halliburton, after all.

lochnessmonster May 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm

It never ceases to amaze me that in this day and age, companies think they’ll get away with this stuff. It’s almost like they never heard of the internet, laws or lawyers.

Trot Nixons Hat May 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

[re=584690]torera[/re]: Yeah, pretty sure that just because you could get a million people down there, it doesn’t mean that you can actually, you know, pick the oil up. It’s not like someone spilled a billion packing peanuts on a tile floor, and the static electricity is making them a bitch to pick up.

It’s more like, holy shit, my apartment has been completely filled with a mixture of olive oil and shredded cheese. This is NEVER coming out.

mumblyjoe May 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm

[re=584740]HMS Nerd[/re]: [re=584679]JMP[/re]: Ah, but in the Libertarian Utopia that exists in Rand Paul’s head, it would [i]also[/i] be perfectly fine of BP happened to make a “campaign donation” to whichever judge happened to be hearing the case, and while it would be [i]nice[/i] if that judge recused himself, if he thought he couldn’t render an impartial verdict, if he decided not to? Well, these things just happen, and what, you expect the [i]government[/i] to do something about it?

mumblyjoe May 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

fucking html

torera May 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

One Yield Regular: that’s fine with me. Trot Nixons Hat: could we make the BP employees slurp it up? At least someday my grandchildren will ask: Mommy, what was BP? Was oil ever used for anything except killing birdies and fish?

Trot Nixons Hat May 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

[re=585204]torera[/re]: I’d pay money for a live feed of the CEO’s face when the price tag comes due… and after Congress retroactively raises the damage cap. I bet that we could see all of those animals and plant life briefly come back to life, if only for a moment, in the darkest recesses of his shattered soul.

Lionel Hutz Esq. May 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Just to give credit where credit is due, NPR ran this story on May 10:

Blast Survivors Kept Isolated On Gulf For Hours

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126667241

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