Former Hostage Seaman Sues Employers, Citing Deliberate Negligence Relating to Imprisonment

Related to an international hostage situation that occurred in 2011, Wren Thomas has brought suit against his then-employers, citing a blatant disregard for safety that to permanent and debilitating injuries.

In July of 2011, Thomas was employed collectively by Edison Chouest LLC, Galliano Marine Services, LLC, and Offshore and Service Vessels, LLC, as a captain and crew member of the American marine vessel C-Retriever to work off of the Nigerian coast, according to the complaint.

The suit posits that the trend of international piracy incidents involving the defendants’ vessels and crews should have caused the defendants’ to increase protection of its assets and employees in Nigerian waters.  Defendants’ allegedly failed to do so, despite numerous alleged incidents involving employees being set upon, maltreated and kidnapped.  Indeed, the suit states that Thomas expressed concerns to his employers about his vessel’s current status in regard to anti-piracy, citing the craft’s age, subpar speed, and somewhat outdated piracy measures.  According to the suit, Thomas, after expressing such concerns, received death threats, both veiled and direct, via the defendants’ radio system.

On October 17, 2013, presumably some time after Thomas allegedly aired his concerns, defendants purportedly received a warning from a Nigerian militant group, threatening kidnapping and arson if their demands were not met.  If the facts of the suit are true, defendants merely cautioned their employees.  Subsequently, they allegedly dispatched Thomas and his vessel along a particularly high-risk route.  As one could predict using reasonable guesswork and context clues, Thomas’s vessel was besieged by pirates on October 22.  After being forced to surrender, Thomas and the crew were captured and tortured for 18 days.

Thomas’s lawsuit states that defendants intentionally dispatched him on a hazardous assignment with full knowledge of the risks of piracy.  This culminated in a failure to provide a safe work environment and a willful disregard for the crew’s wellbeing for the purpose of financial gain.  As a result of the defendants’ negligence, Thomas allegedly has sever physical and psychological issues, such as PTSD and sleep disorders, pain, anguish, distress, humiliation, permanent impairment, and other health issues.  Thomas also states that he has had marital difficulties as a result of his injuries.  The numerous maladies have culminated in Thomas allegedly being too damaged to pass the required physical exam required to renew his license, which has resulted in a loss of future earning capacity and other financial difficulties.  Thomas seeks maintenance and cure, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as various other fees.

The attorneys at Broussard, David & Moroux have the knowledge and experience necessary to handle cases of this nature and will fight to obtain fair compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered harm because of the negligence of another or in the workplace, contact the attorneys at Broussard, David & Moroux to discuss your legal rights at (337) 233-2323 (local) or (888) 337-2323 (toll-free).

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