Attorney for Seacor captain’s widow expects litigation to be consolidated

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 5:07 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The attorney for the deceased captain of the Seacor power lift boat says he is waiting for the boat company’s attorneys to file a motion attempting to limit their losses. He and another boat captain who lost his lift boat says the oil companies must share the blame for a tragedy that killed six people with six more who remain missing.

As efforts continue to raise the semi submerged Seacor Power lift boat 8 miles south of Port Fourchon, the legal fight to recover damages moves forward, though lost lives will never be restored.

“It’s a horrible loss and so unnecessary,” said attorney Hugh Lambert. He has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Captain Frank Ledet’s widow and says company efforts to blame the captain for the decision to go out during rough weather last month, are based in ancient maritime law, and don’t take into account modern communications.

“We are talking about wooden ships of the 1800s were there were no communications. This vessel had a satellite phone and cell phones it’s in constant contact,” said Lambert.

Former lift boat captain Jessie Morton knows all too well, the pressure placed on captains during rough weather.

“It’s the same thing you always hear, captains don’t takeoff for locations unless they’re giving orders,” said Morton.

In 1989, Morton was captain of the Avco 5 which lost 10 men during a storm off the Mexican coast.

“I called the oil company and said we need to come in, and they said no it’s not that bad yet,” said Morton.

The NTSB found that the oil company’s failure to recall the vessel to port was to blame in the Avco disaster. Now the NTSB is investigating the Seacor sinking as the lawsuits play out.

The attorney for the captain of the ill-fated Seacor power lift boat says multiple lawsuits filed after the tragedy should be consolidated in New Orleans federal court, as he takes steps to protect the captains widows best legal interests.

“I think they will be consolidated and expect to see seacor file a limit of liability action which will bring in all the companion lawsuits,” said Lambert.

Some say if the missing men had worn emergency position indicating radios, they may have been found by now.

“Everyone on a vessel like that should have those devices available,” said Lambert.

Former captain Jesse Morton says many companies are slow to change and the results are sometimes deadly

Lambert has said that Seacor and Talos Energy should have helicoptered the majority of the Seacor crew to the vessel once it was put in place near the mouth of the river. He says their actions risked lives. Talos Energy and Seacor are not commenting on pending litigation

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