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Survivors floated for hours in life boats in the Gulf of Mexico following the disaster on the Deepwater Horizon, and were greeted by company officials onshore asking them to sign statements that they had no "first hand or personal knowledge" of the incident, attorneys said. "These men are told they have to sign these statements or they can't go home," said Tony Buzbee, a Houston-based attorney for 10 Transocean workers. "I think it's pretty callous, but I'm not surprised by it."
Guy Cantwell, a spokesman for rig owner Transocean Ltd., refused to answer whether Transocean or any company attached to the firm had supplied the statement, claiming it was inappropriate to comment on litigation.
The men were kept for at least 10 hours at sea, then taken to a hotel on shore in Louisiana to sign the forms and be debriefed, according to Buzbee and court documents filed in lawsuits already brought by some Transocean employees. While such statements have no legal force and are a common industry practice, they are often used to attack the credibility of workers who later sue or testify in a lawsuit, Buzbee said. "When I signed that I didn't care what it was. I wanted to sign the papers to do whatever I had to do so me and my wife could leave to go home," Chris Choy, a 23-year-old surviving worker said in an interview that aired Monday night with PBS'"The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.""I'd been up for 40 hours and was just going through hell."