Shell has confirmed that it is airlifting nine offshore works from the Gulf of Mexico after they exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. The company released a statement that said five of the workers had tested positive for coronavirus and the other four were exhibiting symptoms associated with it.
“Shell can confirm that five individuals working on a Shell-operated platform in the US Gulf of Mexico have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, there are four Persons Under Investigation. Of these nine total individuals, seven were evacuated to onshore medical facilities where they were tested. One of those tested was held in observation for 24 hours before being released. All others were released without hospitalization. The remaining two PUIs on the platform were isolated before being evacuated this afternoon for testing at an onshore medical facility. Personnel on Board (POB) is being reduced to minimum staffing levels.”
How Many Offshore Workers Have COVID-19? We Don’t Know Yet.
While nine infections for a large company like Shell might seem minimal, this could only be a fraction of how many offshore workers on Gulf rigs are sick. Notably, the U.S. Coast Guard stopped reporting how many offshore workers tested positive for the virus in early April. So, there’s no way of telling how many offshore workers have tested positive for COVID-19 unless their employers report their illness to the public.
To complicate matters, industry safety advocates have expressed concern over the fact that the offshore industry has had little regulation during the COVID-19 crisis. The federal government gave companies permission to handle safety on their offshore platforms using their own methods. In other words, there has been no consistency or accountability between companies that operate in the Gulf.
According to ABC, Shell started testing all workers for the virus before they were flown offshore on May 20. The first infection in the Gulf of Mexico on a Shell platform was discovered on May 23. According to Shell, these workers are the first to test positive for COVID-19 across its seven Gulf platforms. The company was supposed to evacuate the remaining two employees today, weather permitting. About 160 people work on the platform that has had a coronavirus outbreak.
If you or a loved one are an offshore worker who has suffered because of COVID-19, Arnold & Itkin is ready to help with a free consultation. Call our offshore COVID-19 lawyers today at (888) 493-1629 to find out what your options are.