Crew members who say they were forced to ride out Hurricane Ida on a drillship in the Gulf of Mexico say they’re finally being evacuated.
Their rescue comes three days after they say the storm nearly capsized their ship and started taking on water.
142 men were on that Noble Globetrotter II. Crew members tell News Ten they thought they were all going to die.
They say Noble Corporation, who owns the drillship, and Shell, who Noble is under contract with, were supposed to get them off that ship before the hurricane hit.
Crew members say they never did.
They say they experienced 80-foot waves and 150 mile an hour winds for hours.
Even after the hurricane passed and the ship was taking in water, crew members say neither Noble or Shell sent help.
On Wednesday, the Coast Guard stepped in to help, according to crew members on the ship.
“We just came through a category four or five storm with 60 to 80-foot seas. We almost capsized quite a few times. The boat was sideways almost, pretty much capsized in the water,” a crew member, who chose to remain anonymous, said.
He says he was one of the 142 men on board the Noble Globetrotter II drillship.
The crew member says Shell and Noble were supposed to bring their ship in days before the category four hurricane hit.
“It seemed like that would have been the case, but they never tried to evacuate anybody,” he said.
He says the companies waited until the morning of the storm hit to make the call.
“That was Shell’s call saying, ‘Hey, try to get the pipe and and go ahead and try to move out the way.’ If you’ve ever worked on a rig and you’ve ever had to pull a riser, you know that’s a three-day job. We don’t have time to do that in three hours. It’s just not going to happen,” he said.
The crew tried to run from the storm with 2,400 feet of pipe still in the ocean, but they say they could only move at about two mph with it down there. The storm soon caught up to them.
“Yeah, we knew we were on our own,” he added.
The ship was hit hard by Hurricane Ida.
The Coast Guard said they contacted the vessel’s master and Noble Corporation on Monday to determine the extent of any damage.
“The master of the vessel told the Coast Guard that the vessel was not in distress, but information released reportedly from the crew of the Globetrotter II indicates potential issues with safety,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Heartland said.
Crew members tell News Ten that after the storm passed, the ship started taking in water. They also said four people had been injured.
They say still, however, Shell or Noble didn’t send help. In fact, they say, the companies didn’t even tell them if and when they would be rescued.
After the crew’s side of the story came out along with photos of the ship and blew up on social media, the Coast Guard launched a helicopter aircrew from New Orleans to conduct an overflight of the vessel on Wednesday.
After inspecting the vessel, the Coast Guard sent a crew to the scene.
Crew members on the Globetrotter II tell News Ten the Coast Guard is now evacuating them from the drillship by helicopter.
We also spoke with a crew member onboard the Noble Globetrotter I drillship, a ship that is also under contract with Shell.
He says Shell and Noble waited until late Saturday night, early Sunday morning to bring their ship into port as well, and he’s grateful they made actually it.