The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed Sunday, Nov. 18, that the body that was recovered by the oil rig accident site on Saturday evening was one of two missing Filipino maritime workers. The company says it has expanded its search for the other missing worker.
“We regret to announce that the body that was recovered near the accident scene a few hours ago belongs to one of our two missing kababayans,” Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr. said as he expressed his condolences to the family of the victim.
The media reported that there were three other Filipinos working on the oil platform at the time of the incident but Cuisia said the embassy could not immediately confirm whether they were among the nine Filipino workers that the US Coast Guard said were hurt in the incident.
Philippine Embassy Welfare Officer Saul de Vries will visit the hospital to check on the condition of the injured Filipinos and find out “what assistance the Philippine government could extend to them or their families in the Philippines,” said Cuisia.
Information reaching the embassy indicated the Filipinos are all employees of Grand Isle Shipyard Inc., which provides manpower to Black Elk Energy.
They are among an estimated 162 welders, fitters, scaffolders and riggers hired in the Philippines, through Grand Isle’s US recruitment agency, D&R Resources and its Manila-based counterpart, Industrial Personnel and Management Services, to work in offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jones Act lawyer, Gordon, Elias & Seely, says it is important for victims of maritime accidents to understand their legal rights when it comes to offshore workers who are injured or killed on the job. Maritime laws already exist such as the Jones Act and The Longshore Compensation Act to aid victims of offshore injury accidents. Consulting an experienced maritime lawyer to explain these laws is highly recommended.