Gulf Tragedy Could Have|Been Averted, Dad Says

     GALVESTON, Texas (CN) – Ship operators doomed a liftboat crew when it abandoned them to drown in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month after their vessel collapsed during a tropical storm, a federal lawsuit filed by the father of one victim claims.
     Craig Myers, 32, died on Sept. 11, 2011 – three days after Tropical Storm Nate disabled his vessel, Trinity II. Myers was part of a 10-man crew that abandoned the liftboat and was left to float in the Bay of Campeche near Mexico.
     “Due to the negligence of all Defendants, including by the negligence of the company that contracted with Trinity, Defendant Geokinetics, Inc., Decedent Myers suffered severe and disabling personal injuries, mental anguish and pain and suffering before dying three days later, while floating with his fellow crewmembers, abandoned in high seas in the Bay of Campeche,” the seven-page lawsuit states.
     The crew reportedly evacuated to an inflatable raft that was too small to support all of them. Instead of retrieving them, a standby vessel, Mermaid Vigilance, fled for shelter from the storm, Myers’ father, Steve, says.
     “The vessel abandoned the crew of the Trinity II to their horrifying fate in the storm ridden seas of the Bay of Campeche, and cut and ran for base and shelter,” according to the complaint. “All of these actions took place with the full knowledge of the circumstances of the Trinity II’s crew’s horrifying position, given the collapse of the Trinity II’s leg, and despite her Mayday calls. These intentional and conscious actions, and inactions, constitute negligence and gross negligence as those terms are defined in law and morality, or were intentional acts as the injuries and deaths were substantially certain to be caused by the actions and/or omissions of Mermaid and/or Geokinetics. These actions by the Mermaid Vigilance were anything but vigilant, but rather cowardly and tantamount to murder at sea in conjunction with the Defendant Geokinetics, which was the ring leader of these conscious decisions to doom the crew of the Trinity II to their deaths and horrifying and debilitating injuries.”
     Myers was one of four Americans, all from Louisiana, working on the liftboat. Nick Reed, who was the son of Trinity president Randy Reed, also drowned, as did an Australian on the crew, Aaron Houweling.
     The other two Americans were rescued with a Bangladeshi and four Mexican crew members on Sept. 11. The Bangladeshi later died in hospital.
     Myers’ estate sued Trinity Liftboat Services and the three companies that operated the standby vessel, Geokinetics, Mermaid Marine Asia and Mermaid Marine Australia.
     The complaint seeks punitive damages, alleging gross negligence, unseaworthiness and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Myers is represented by Francis Spagnoletti of Houston.
     Spagnoletti also represents the two surviving Americans who filed suit separately.

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