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Lifeboat Failure Kills 2 Offshore Workers on ENSCO Jack-Up Rig

2 offshore workers were killed on Saturday, October 18th, when the lifeboat they were assigned to work on suddenly “let go” causing the pair to fall 150 feet into the water below. Both crewmen were aboard the ENSCO-104 jack-up rig, a KFELS MOD V – Class ‘B’ rig  designed to drill in depths of up to 400 feet of water, when the incident unexpectedly occurred. The rig, currently under contract to Malaysian company SapuraKencana, remains shut down until the investigation can be completed. ENSCO, a Houston-based company, has yet to comment on the tragedy.

Most of the time, jack-up rigs are considered vessels in navigation making the members of their crews “seamen” for purposes of determining what laws apply. This means that the families of these 2 offshore workers may have causes of action under both the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). The Jones Act provides wrongful death benefits to the family of a seaman who dies due to the negligence of his employer. DOHSA allows the personal representative of the deceased worker to bring a claim in Federal court for damages against the responsible party. These damages are based on the value of the financial benefit that would have been received from the decedent by his dependents.

If you have any questions about the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act or offshore injury cases in general, please do not hesitate to contact our firm. We would be more than happy to answer your questions, free of charge.