Welders sue after personnel transfer basket slams into boat deck

Michelle Keahey Jul. 13, 2012, 2:11am


NEW ORLEANS - After their personnel transfer basket slammed into the deck of a boat, two welders have filed a personal injury lawsuit claiming that they should not have been transferred during rough seas.

Jose Contreras and Jose Hernandez Pablo filed suit against DD Marine and Arena Offshore on June 21 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on Jan. 10 as the plaintiffs were working as welders for Performance Labor on the Platform EI 314. They were to be lowered to a crew boat by a personnel basket. Although the men complained that the seas were too rough to make a safe descent to the crew boat, the supervisor told them to leave.

According to the lawsuit, as the basket was lowered, the crew boat surged and the crane operator mistimed the drop, slamming the men to the deck of the boat. Both men sustained serious injuries.

DD Marine is accused of negligence for agreeing to participate in a basket transfer in bad weather and rough seas, failing to communicate properly with the crane operator about the appropriate speed of decent, failing to warn the crane operator about the extent and nature of the waves immediately preceding the accident, and for failing to maneuver the vessel properly.

Arena Offshore is accused of negligence for the supervisor approving the basket transfer, knowing of the rough seas, for the crane operator participating in the descent, knowing of the rough seas, for the crane operator descending the plaintiffs too quickly and for the crane operator not properly communicating with the captain of the crew boat.

Contreras and Pablo are asking the court for an award of damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, lost earnings, loss of household services, interest, attorney's fees, and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Steve Gordon of Gordon, Elias & Seely L.L.P in Houston.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01589

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