Seaman claims illness from BP oil spill dispersants

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 28, 2012, 3:32am

Mark Lanier, Lanier Law Firm

GALVESTON - An Alabama seaman is claiming in a lawsuit that he became ill from the chemical dispersants he worked with while doing clean up for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

William Kibby of Grand Bay, Ala., filed suit against BP, Subsea 7 (US) LLC, Offshore Inland Marine & Oilfield Services Inc. and Total Safety U.S. Inc. on Feb. 17 in Galveston County Court at Law No. 2.

According to the suit, Kibby was working aboard the M/V Skandi Neptune, a vessel operated by Subsea and BP, off the Louisiana coast as part of an assignment from his employer Offshore Inland Marine on April 23, 2010, when he inhaled chemicals from the nearby erupting BP Macondo oil well.

The incident in question occurred three days after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, which killed 11 workers and injured 16 others.

According to the original petition, the deck of the Skandi Neptune "for days" was awash with oil dispersants as they leaked from equipment and improperly marked containers being used by the crew while performing their work in applying undiluted dispersants directly to the oil spill coming from the riser of the Macondo well.

Kibby says he and the vessel's other crew members were not properly trained regarding the safe handling of these chemicals and their risks of exposure, adding they were not provided with the necessary personal protective equipment.

"(The) plaintiff William Kibby's questions regarding the chemicals to which he was being exposed went unanswered and made the plaintiff sick enough from these repeated and continuing chemical exposures that he was forced to leave the vessel after two to three weeks to escape further exposure and injury," the suit says.

The original petition further asserts the Skandi Neptune was insufficiently manned at the time of the alleged incident and blames Total Safety for poor safety services.

Kibby sustained "serious and disabling" personal injuries to his throat, lungs and other internal organs, which the suit states require extensive medical monitoring.

Consequently, he seeks unspecified monetary damages.

The Lanier Law Firm PC is representing the plaintiff.

Galveston County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Barbara Roberts is presiding over the case.

Cause No. 66,980

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