Despite the physical demands and mental challenges inherent in maritime employment, most offshore employees love what they do.  The despair offshore workers felt over the deaths of the 11 crewmembers serving aboard the MODU Deepwater Horizon did not prevent most of these workers from wanting to go back offshore and back to work.  Sadly though, President Obama decided to institute a six-month moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling, compounding an already tragic situation in the Gulf Coast.

The offshore drilling moratorium forced at least 33 drilling rigs along the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico to shut down.  This shutdown has caused a state of panic among the already hard-hit Gulf Coast communities.  While this offshore drilling moratorium most directly affects the companies who own and operate the drilling rigs in the Gulf, it most certainly negatively impacts the workers they hire to work on their oil rigs.  It also wreaks havoc on the local companies surrounding the Gulf who support the offshore drilling industry.  You could name almost any Gulf Coast industry and know that at this point, it has been hard hit by this tragedy.  Local employers have told the media that while the oil spill is bad, the worst impact on the economy will come from this moratorium.

Maritime drilling employers and the hard working men and women they employ, along with the local communities who support their drilling operations are effectively being punished for the mistakes of large multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies like BP and Transocean.  A study from the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association projects between 800 and 1,400 offshore jobs per rig are at risk, averaging to an economic impact between $5 and $10 million in lost wages per month per platform.  All of this loss while the 591 producing wells in deepwater Gulf of Mexico have never had problems, and thousands of deepwater wells around the world safely produce oil every single day.


What Can Be Done to Combat the Offshore Drilling Moratorium?

At least one oil services company has filed suit against the federal government.  Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. claims that the United States government has not and cannot show justification for its recently imposed offshore drilling moratorium.  Hornbeck filed suit Monday in Louisiana federal court to prevent the Interior Department from enforcing Obama’s deepwater drilling ban.

The maritime lawyers of Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  agree with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal that last thing Louisiana needs is for our government to enact policy that prevent jobs from being created. A blanket moratorium in no way reduces the risks and may have a greater economic impact than the oil spill itself.  If you or someone you know have been negatively affected in any way by the Deepwater Horizon explosion, subsequent oil spill or current government offshore drilling moratorium, contact SMSH today. We are here to help you, and have been proud to do so for over 45 years.