Woman sues offshore driller over spy camera in rig quarters
- Exploration & Production
An offshore rig worker has filed a million dollar lawsuit, claiming she found a hidden camera in her sleeping quarters while working on the Transocean-owned Deepwater Invictus drillship.
The civil lawsuit was filed against Transocean, BHP Billiton, Schlumberger, Aramark Services, RPS Group, and Cambrian Consultants.
A female engineer, called Jane Doe to protect her identity, alleges in the lawsuit that she was secretly recorded in her quarters during a 2015 hitch on the Deepwater Invictus rig.
The lawsuit raises questions about what the defendants could have done to prevent the invasion of privacy before the incident, and what they should have done following the incident.
Trial in the case is set for March 19, 2018 in the 151st District Court of Harris County, Texas. The plaintiff requested a trial by jury and is seeking damages in excess of $1 million.
The plaintiff was a level one field engineer for Schlumberger and by August 2015 she had worked offshore for almost two years for multiple companies.
According to court documents, she first reported that she noticed the spy camera on the morning of August 8, 2015, when she woke up, meaning the spy camera was placed in her bedroom by at least August 7. On August 9, 2015, the spy camera was no longer in her room. Thereafter, the spy camera was moved to the bedroom of the only other female crew member on the Invictus and was discovered there.
It is worth mentioning that, as part of Transocean’s and BHP’s policy aboard the Deepwater Invictus, sleeping quarters were not to be locked when a crew member departed the room.
The camera was attached to the inside of the door in the bedrooms of the only two female crewmembers on the Invictus. It was shaped like a white coat hook with two prongs. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the coat hook was in fact a covert video recording system, which was motion activated. From where the spy camera was positioned on the door, it had full view of the beds and entrance to the bathroom.
Once defendants were notified of the discovery, plaintiff and her coworker requested that defendants allow them to replace the coat hook in order to obtain footage of the perpetrator or perpetrators retrieving the device; or, catch the perpetrator(s) in the act of retrieving the device.
However, defendants’ representatives refused to follow through with their plan to identify the perpetrator(s), citing privacy concerns for recording of employees.
In addition, defendants refused plaintiff’s request that defendants put the vessel into a full state of lock down to perform a search in order to obtain digital data of any and all photographs and/or video obtained by the perpetrator(s) of the plaintiff.
The day after the incident, both plaintiff and the other female Schlumberger worker were flown off the Invictus. The perpetrator was not yet identified.
The lawsuit alleges that, after the spy camera was discovered, very little was done by way of investigation which was led by Transocean. In fact, the plaintiff claims that Transocean performed absolutely no formal investigation of the spy camera incident.
The Deepwater Invictus drillship was built in 2014 at the DSME shipyard in Korea, and it is capable of operating in water depths up to 12,000 feet and drilling wells up to 40,000 feet deep.
The drillship has spent most of its operational life with BHP in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, with a brief spell in Trinidad where it drilled for the same operator.
In October last year BHP Billiton awarded a two-year contract to Transocean for the Deepwater Invictus worth about $106 million.
Offshore Energy Today Staff