A Democratic senator is demanding answers from drilling giant Transocean about the forms that rescued workers from the Deepwater Horizon rig were given to sign stating that they were not injured and they were not witnesses to what happened.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, fired off a letter to Transocean CEO Steven Newman calling the company’s use of the forms “extremely troublesome.”
Murray is demanding “a copy of the legal documents that the surviving crew members of the Deepwater Horizon signed, as well as a full list of your employees forced into signing such documents … [and] a full account from the crewmembers who signed these legal documents.”
She also says in the letter she contacted the Justice Department “to determine whether any of the aforementioned actions are in violation of any criminal or civil statutes.”
Murray is the second Democrat in Congress asking Transocean for some answers about the forms. Stay tuned.
Here’s her letter:
The events surrounding the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon have become a major concern for myself, Washingtonians and the American public. While I am extremely concerned by the environmental and economic impact of the ongoing uncapped oil spill, the treatment and safety of your workers has also been called into question.
I have become aware that Transocean may have coerced several survivors of the Deepwater Horizon to sign legal documents to effectively waive their rights to future medical care and reimbursement. More specifically, several news outlets have reported that members of the surviving crew of the Deepwater Horizon were not allowed to contact or rejoin their families and loved ones until they signed documents waiving some of their legal recourses against Transocean.
I am concerned that these documents were acquired while the surviving crew was under duress. I have also contacted the Department of Justice to determine whether any of the aforementioned actions are in violation of any criminal or civil statutes.
I am formally requesting a copy of the legal documents that the surviving crew members of the Deepwater Horizon signed, as well as a full list of your employees forced into signing such documents. Furthermore, I am requesting a full account from the crewmembers who signed these legal documents. The allegations concerning Transocean are extremely troublesome and are cause for deep concern - America’s workers deserve better.
It is bad enough that too many of our workers have become subject to unsafe work environments; it is unacceptable that Transocean has allegedly taken advantage of these same workers. I expect that your company has significant and substantive plans to increase worker safety and to fully respect worker rights in the wake of these disturbing allegations. In the meantime, I appreciate your cooperation with my request and I look forward to reviewing the requested documents.
United States Senator