The US Coast Guard has made contact with Noble Corporation's Globetrotter II drillship after reports that the vessel had sustained severe damage from Hurricane Ida with crewmembers still onboard.
In a statement released on 29 August, Noble said the Globetrotter II had encountered hurricane conditions in the Gulf, but said the effects to the vessel did not appear to be major.
“The vessel maintained stability throughout the weather event and is operating on its own power with functional marine and safety systems,” the company said.
That assessment has come into question after an unnamed crewmember allegedly contacted a television station in Lafayette, Louisiana and criticised Noble for leaving crew on the vessel during the storm. The crewmember said the drillship had suffered serious damage, that four crewmembers were injured and the vessel was at risk of capsizing.
The Coast Guard said it had been in constant contact with Noble since Sunday to determine the extent of the damage to the Globetrotter II and to ensure lifesaving equipment is functional.
“Throughout all of the communications between the US licensed master of the vessel and the Coast Guard, the master has maintained that the vessel was not in distress and not actively taking on water," the Coast Guard said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
"Information released on social media, reportedly from the crew of the Noble Globetrotter II, indicates potential issues with safety, including possible damage to the hull.”
The Coast Guard said it had launched a helicopter to overfly the Globetrotter II, located approximately 80 nautical miles south-southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana, to conduct an overflight. It also diverted the Cutter Venturous to intercept the drillship.
“The vessel and the company are developing a plan to bring the vessel into port for repairs. The Coast Guard will maintain communications with the master of the vessel until it arrives in port,” the Coast Guard said.
Noble has not responded to repeated requests for comment from Upstream on the matter.