The Coast Guard has given us an update on the Globetrotter, and say they're working with the crew of the boat to bring it in for repairs.
While people across southeast Louisiana stayed in their homes to ride out Hurricane Ida, 140 crew members on board the Noble Globetrotter II drill ship rode out the storm in the Gulf.
"During the storm, we received a report that the vessel had sustained damage. Members of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District Outer Continental Shelf division have been in contact with both the master of the Noble Globetrotter II and Noble Corporation since Sunday to determine the extent of any damage, and to ensure that the crew’s lifesaving equipment is functional and available in the event of an emergency," a release states.
"Throughout all of the communications between the U.S. 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. 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 release states.
Because of that, and "out of an abundance of caution, the Coast Guard launched a helicopter aircrew from Air Station New Orleans to conduct an overflight of the vessel and has diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous to the scene."
According to one crew member we spoke to, those on board the ship are being evacuated.
The Coast Guard does not mention evacuating the crew. It says that "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 vessel and crew are currently located 80 nautical miles south, southeast of Grand Isle, La., in the Gulf of Mexico, the USCG says.
Earlier today, the owner of the Liberian-flagged vessel, Noble, told us that the ship had weathered the storm and was still moving under its own power. They told us that all crew were accounted for and safe.
Petty Officer Third Class Gabriel Wisdom tells us that the USCG is aware of reports that the boat is in distress. They reached out to the ship and were told by crew that the ship was not in distress, Wisdom said. He said the Coast Guard has been in touch with the ship since Monday to be sure they're OK.
But, Wisdom said that social media posts purportedly from the crew indicate there might be safety issues on board, and so there is a USCG team on the way to the ship to determine if the crew is in any immediate danger and whether crew should be removed. A cutter and a team of inspectors is on the way, he said.
Earlier Wednesday Craig Muirhead, spokesman for Noble, which is under contract with Shell, provided us with this statement:
“The Noble Globetrotter II drillship successfully secured its well in progress and departed the well location early on August 28 to take evasive action from Hurricane Ida’s storm path. These actions were based on real-time forecasts in the days leading up to the storm. It is standard industry practice for self-propelled vessels to take evasive action in advance of a hurricane.
"The vessel encountered hurricane-force conditions during this transit but maintained stability throughout the weather event. The vessel continues to operate on its own power with functional marine and safety systems. The Company is in the process of completing a full assessment of its condition. The vessel’s heli-deck is fully operational, and helicopter transportation will resume as charter service from hurricane-effected areas allows.
"The Company is proud of the performance of the vessel’s crew and can confirm that all personnel on board are safe and accounted for. We will continue to work closely with personnel and their families to provide all necessary support as we all recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.”
Offshore Magazine, a trade journal, reported two days ago that this ship and two others operated by Noble had weathered the storm.
"Noble Corp. has reported that all personnel onboard the ultra-deepwater drillships Pacific Sharav, Noble Globetrotter I, and Noble Globetrotter II in the US Gulf of Mexico are safe and accounted for following Hurricane Ida.
Each rig successfully secured its respective well in progress and took evasive actions to avoid the storm’s path.
Of the three, the Noble Globetrotter II is the only vessel that encountered hurricane-force conditions. According to the drilling contractor, the drillship maintained stability throughout the weather event and is operating on its own power with functional marine and safety systems. A full assessment of its condition will be completed as soon as the weather clears," the magazine reports.
To read the entire article, click here.
This is a developing story and we're waiting on additional information from Noble. This story will be updated as we obtain more information.