In 1975, a man named John R. Blocker purchased Choya Energy, an Alice, Texas-based drilling company. He renamed it Blocker Energy and took the company public five years later. After swiftly expanding its fleet to 54 rigs, Blocker Energy was forced to restructure to avoid bankruptcy following the drop in oil prices at the end of 1982. In 1983, the company reduced its fleet to just 6 rigs but expanded to 24 the following year. In 1987, the company changed its name to Ensco (Energy Service Company). 3 years later, Ensco acquired Penrod Drilling and added 19 rigs to its fleet. Ensco merged with Rowan in 2019 and changed its name to Valaris, under which it operates today.
Valaris (Ensco) Offshore Accidents
Due to the sheer size of the company’s fleet, it is no surprise that Valaris-owned rigs have been the sites of serious offshore accidents. Several recent incidents are included below.
Ensco 8500 Spill (2015)
According to a report from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), an Ensco-owned rig operated by Eni U.S. was the site of a 12-barrel spill of synthetic base mud into the ocean 61 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico on June 20, 2015. The alarm did not sound, and a planned maintenance program had been completed for the part that ultimately failed, leaving the investigation’s findings inconclusive. The report did indicate that human error and equipment failure were to blame.
Ensco 104 Lifeboat Safety Harness Failure (2014)
In October of 2014, two crew members lost their lives during a lifeboat inspection on the Ensco 104 jack-up rig off the coast of Malaysia. The two men were inspecting a lifeboat when a safety harness failed, causing the boat to fall into the water 150 feet below. Both sustained fatal head injuries.
Ensco D-1 Riser Pipe Incident (2013)
In August of 2013, a riser pipe on the Ensco D-1 drilling rig collapsed. No one sustained any injuries, but the accident occurred as a result of failure to open the blind shear rams, which caused the pipe to buckle when the blow-out preventer was run.
Ensco 102 Helicopter Accident (2012)
In May of 2012, a helicopter transporting 12 crew members had to ditch in the North Sea. It was on its way to the Ensco 102 and another offshore drilling rig when it experienced a mechanical failure. Thankfully, all 14 people on the helicopter were rescued.
Rowan Offshore Accidents
Rowan Companies provides contract drilling services through its fleet of deep-water drillships. The fleet has more than 30 drill rigs and conducts operations in the United States, Middle East, West Africa, Mexico, and the North Sea. Now that Rowan has merged with Ensco to create Valaris, the company’s reach has expanded significantly.
Rigs owned and operated by Rowan have been the sites of serious offshore accidents.
Relentless Drillship Synthetic Base Mud Spill (2015)
In July of 2015, aboard the Relentless, a Rowan drillship, 368 barrels of Synthetic Base Mud (SBM) were discharged into the ocean. The accident report lists probable causes as: poor communication between parties involved, spitter valve left open that should have been closed, and failure to verify valve alignment. No one was injured during the incident, but it resulted in unnecessary pollution to a precious natural resource.
Gorilla IV Crane Accident (2008)
In February of 2008, a port bow crane on board a Rowan rig called the Gorilla IV collapsed, killing two workers. The incident happened while crews were installing a boat tie up rope. When the crane collapsed, one worker was killed instantly. The other fell overboard, and his body was recovered by deep sea divers the following day. The incident report lists the following probable causes: remote crane operator did not check required items prior to operating, mechanical failure because of failure to recalibrate joystick, and failure to turnoff function switches when control console is not in use.
Your Rights as an Offshore Worker
Offshore work is challenging, no matter your role. But, this does not excuse accidents and injuries caused by poor safety standards or equipment malfunction. Companies like Valaris must maintain their rigs and implement proper training and safety procedures to protect all crew members. If you are injured or fall ill, maritime law allows for the recovery of compensation for your lost earnings, medical care, emotional trauma, and possibly more. You have the right to seek the treatment and support you need without having to worry about being blacklisted or fired.
Injured offshore workers and families who have lost loved ones at sea turn to Arnold & Itkin for the experienced, unrelenting representation it takes to win these complex cases. Our Valaris offshore injury lawyers know how devastating a maritime accident can be, and that is why we fight to help crew members and their families get the full compensation they need to rebuild. We have won over $15 billion for the injured and wronged. Now is your chance to learn how Arnold & Itkin can help you.
Contact our team today at (888) 493-1629 or contact us online for your free, private consultation.