Two global maritime enterprises have sued a helicopter company, citing nonpayment of a 2013 rescue operation.
Sunglory Maritime Limited and Aeolian Investments, both of Piraeus, Greece, filed an admiralty and maritime lawsuit March 23 in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana against PHI Inc. (Petroleum Helicopters International) and helicopter No. N764PH, citing The Salvage Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs are entitled to recover costs for voluntarily salvaging and removing a helicopter from their vessel, the Aeolian Heritage, after safely transporting it to Corpus Christi, Texas on March 24, 2014.
The suit says on the morning of March 24, 2013, while the Aeolian Heritage was anchored in the Gulf of Mexico, a helicopter owned by PHI, Inc. made an emergency landing on one of the vessel’s hatch covers. The lawsuit says that although it did not call the vessel to secure permission beforehand, it was evidently in distress and it landed in an appropriate location and manner.
After landing safely, the distressed craft’s crew and passengers were assisted by the ship’s crew, who reported the incident to the U.S. Coast Guard, the suit states, and another helicopter was sent to retrieve personnel, and the Aeolian Heritage proceeded to transport the damaged craft to Corpus Christi.
The plaintiffs allege they assisted the helicopter voluntarily in a hazardous situation, incurring expenses. They seek reimbursement of costs as well as a salvage award. The suit states the defendant has offered no payment to the plaintiffs despite requests.
The plaintiffs request that the rescued aircraft be condemned and sold to satisfy the judgment, and that they be awarded attorney fees, expenses and costs. They are represented by attorneys Robert Fisher and Derek Walker of Chaffe McCall in New Orleans.
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana case number: 2:15-cv-00896-NJB-MBN