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Zehl & Associates’ Maritime Lawyers Represent Oil Spill Whistleblower

On April 1, 2014, our client, Mr. Evan Howington, witnessed an event that would change his life forever–an intentional offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast of Louisiana.

Little did he know, that was just the beginning of the story.

Out on his very first hitch with a new maritime employer, Mr. Howington, an ROV (remotely-operated vehicle) operator working for Helix-owned Canyon Offshore onboard a Cal Dive-owned semisubmersible named the M/V Uncle John, which was under contract to Walter Oil & Gas, was helping to drain residual oil out of a section of underwater pipeline into a bladder before bringing it 1500 feet up to the surface for proper disposal.

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All was going as expected until Walter Oil & Gas’s company man, along with a few of Mr. Howington’s superiors at Canyon, decided it would be faster and cheaper to simply open the valve on the underwater jumper pipe and bleed off any remaining pressure–and contents– from the line directly into the ocean.

“Lights out!”

Ignoring Mr. Howington’s suggestion that they should just continue using the bladder they had already been using to drain the residual oil and bring it up to the surface for proper disposal, the client representative for Walter Oil then gave the go-ahead to open the valve and dump the contents into the ocean.

One of Evan’s fellow Canyon ROV operators then, reluctantly, did just that and what appeared to be black oil began to pour out into the Gulf.

Taking Action

While watching the situation unfold, Mr. Howington thought to himself, “if I can’t stop them, then I could at least try and do something about their actions.”

He held his phone discreetly in his lap and did his best to record the activities going on in the room, without drawing too much attention to himself.  Fortunately, he was able to get both video and audio of what transpired.

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During the course of the recorded conversations, the client representative for Walter O&G admitted that what they were doing was illegal and even stated that he wished they could have done this earlier in the morning, under the cover of darkness.

Walter’s client representative then made note to everyone in the room that as far as anyone else is concerned, it’s just chemical and not oil.

He also engaged in conversation with Mr. Howington’s Canyon supervisor about how it will be logged.

Mr. Howington’s supervisor’s light-hearted response was, disturbingly, “I know how to log this (expletive)”.

Check this page tomorrow for Part 2 of Oil & Water where WWLTV Investigative Reporter David Hammer will take an in-depth look at how the Department of Justice mishandled the evidence Mr. Howington presented and allowed Walter Oil & Gas to plead guilty to just one count of failing to report an accidental discharge and pay a measly $400,000 fine–none of which was allocated to the whistleblower.

Have you witnessed illegal oil dumping or other wrongdoing offshore? Call 1-888-603-3636 today or Click Here to speak with one of our experienced maritime whistleblower attorneys.

If you have any questions about illegal activity you may have witnessed, your rights as a victim or whistleblower, or what you should or shouldn’t do moving forward, don’t hesitate to call our Offshore Accident and Maritime Whistleblower Attorneys at 1-888-603-3636 or by sending us an email through our Contact Form.

All of your Calls and Questions will be Answered Free of Charge by one of our Experienced Maritime Accident Lawyers, there no costs or charges involved whatsoever.

Winning Offshore Accident Lawyers: Over $1 Billion Won for Accident Victims Across the United States in the Past 5 Years Alone

Contact us today to see what our experienced maritime accident attorneys can do for you and your family.