The body of an oil worker, one of 10 workers who were forced to abandon a liftboat in the southern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) during Tropical Storm (TS) Nate, has been recovered.
Geokinetics Inc. CEO Richard Miles said Friday that the victim, one of three employees who were aboard the liftboat Trinity II, was recovered Thursday. Miles said the second employee was among the seven men rescued on Sept. 12 but he died shortly afterward. He said the third employee was still recovering in a hospital.
Miles did not name any of the 10 oil workers involved in the Sept. 8 incident but the Sydney Morning Herald identified the victim found Thursday as Aaron Houweling, an Australian. According to the report, a Mexican Navy officer who led the rescue operation said Houweling lost his grip from a raft within hours of abandoning the Trinity II. The officer said TS Nate caused 117-kilometer (110-mph) winds and four-meter (13-foot) waves.
Media reports identified the other victim as Kham Nadimuzzaman, a Bangladeshi. An official with Mexico's state-owned petroleum company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), said Nadimuzzaman died Sunday night at a Pemex regional hospital in Ciudad del Carmen, a port city in Campeche state.
Rescuers also recovered two bodies on Sept. 12, believed to be Americans Craig Myers and Nick Reed of Louisiana. The Mexican Navy said all of the men recovered that day were found 92 kilometers (57 miles) off the coast of Campeche state.
"I recently returned from Mexico, where I met all the survivors and their families and the families who lost loved ones," Miles said during Friday's conference call. "Our heartfelt condolences go to the crew members' families who lost loved ones. We are providing aid and support to the survivors and their families to help in their recoveries as well as reviewing the circumstances leading up to the incident."
Miles thanked Pemex and other Mexican authorities for their rescue operations and support.
The Trinity II was supporting an ocean bottom cable project in the Bay of Campeche for Geokinetics, which performs seismic testing for the oil and gas industry (see Daily GPI, Sept. 13). The company said TS Nate disabled the liftboat and forced the crew to abandon ship and board a life raft.
Miles said the incident could cause the Houston-based company to lose $15 million in 2011 revenue. He said the cable project -- which is currently suspended -- could possibly be completed within the original time frame but said the company was currently unable to forecast if the cost to complete the project would increase.
"In order to restart the project we must make a presentation to Pemex, which among other things, establishes to Pemex's satisfaction that the project can be completed safely," Miles said, adding that the company hoped to complete the cable project during 4Q2011. "We expect to make this presentation within the next several weeks, and hopefully the project can be restarted shortly thereafter."
According to Miles, another liftboat, the Trinity I, was on standby in the GOM about eight miles from the incident site. He said all other vessels that could support the cable project were either in port or deployed in other standby activities. In an earlier announcement, the company said the Trinity II had been secured.
Miles said Mexican authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard would conduct separate investigations into the incident, but he added that those investigations do not need to be completed for Geokinetics to resume operations.
Miles also said the company had the appropriate amount of insurance coverage and that the deductibles would not impact the company's financial position or operations. He said the company also did not lose any ocean bottom cables or any of the recording equipment aboard the Trinity II, which he valued at approximately $400,000.
Three of the men aboard the Trinity II were independent contractors and four were crew members of the ship, which is owned by Trinity Liftboat Services (TLS) of New Iberia, LA. Media reports said Reed is the son of Randy Reed, the owner of TLS.
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