At the instruction of its insurers and in order to preserve insurance coverage, several of Transocean’s (RIG) affiliated companies have filed a petition in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Houston, under the federal Limitation of Shipowner's Liability Act in connection with the recent Deepwater Horizon casualty.
Transocean said it believes this step is necessary to protect the interests of its employees, its shareholders and the company.
The Company noted that one of the primary goals of this filing is to consolidate in a single court many of the lawsuits that have been filed following the Deepwater Horizon casualty to initiate an orderly process for these lawsuits and claims before a single, impartial federal judge. The filing also would establish a single fund from which legitimate claims may be paid. Transocean believes this type of orderly process is in the best interests of all parties involved.
The company emphasized, however, that its focus remains centered on remediation and meeting the needs of its injured and deceased employees and their family members during this difficult time -- as demonstrated by the efforts of its family response team members. The Company intends to pursue resolution with its employees as quickly as possible, but out of respect, not before the upcoming memorial service.
The company also emphasized that this filing does not impact lawsuits filed under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and that it will continue to provide all possible support to BP and the Unified Command.
Among other things, the complaint asks that the Court issue an injunction restraining certain lawsuits underway against these companies in any jurisdiction other than the Southern District of Texas. The petitioners noted in the complaint that more than 100 lawsuits have been filed against the companies in multiple states and courts.
As set forth under Federal Law, the complaint also asks that the companies be judged not liable on claims for certain, defined losses or damages relating to the casualty or, if they are judged to be liable, that the liability for such claims be limited to the value of their interest in the Deepwater Horizon rig and its freight including the accounts receivable and accrued accounts receivable as of April 28, 2010. The petitioners assert in the filing that the entire value of their interest does not exceed $26,764,083. The petitioning companies in the action are Triton Asset Leasing GmbH, owner; Transocean Holdings LLC, contract operator; Transocean Deepwater Inc., employer of Deepwater Horizon crew, and Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., employer of land-based crew.