Chevron and Edison Chouest Face Lawsuit Over Kidnapping of American Supply Boat Captain

c-retriever PSV
PSV C-Retriever. Image via Christian/Shipspotting

Nearly a year to the day after Edison Chouest’s supply vessel C-Retriever was hijacked and its captain and chief engineer kidnapped off Nigeria, a lawsuit has been filed in Houston against the two companies for gross negligence and failure to “take appropriate remedial measures to protect its employees,” namely Captain Wren Thomas.

In October 2013, Captain Thomas spent 18 days in a jungle hideout under the watchful eye of drugged-out armed pirates who, to put it lightly, threatened him with severe bodily harm or death on an hourly basis.  The injuries he came home with have made it impossible to continue his career as a merchant mariner and caused unspeakable mental anguish.

Thomas’ lawsuit highlights a series of anonymous death threats that he received and specific kidnapping threats that were made to Edison Chouest in advance of his eventual kidnapping.  He alleges that following these threats not enough was done to protect him and his crew from attack and that he and his colleagues on other Edison Chouest (ECO) supply boats were simply told to “stay very vigilant at all times and review . . . Security plans.”

17 specific items are listed in the lawsuit that support Captain Thomas’ claim, but perhaps the most shocking issue is that to date, the owner of ECO, Gary Chouest, has never called Captain Thomas regarding the incident or phoned his wife or his family during his captivity. Additionally, the suit notes that Gary Chouest and managers have refused any and all phone calls from Thomas’s two sons that reside in Louisiana.

gCaptain has reached out to Chevron and ECO for further comment on the matter.

Read Captain Thomas’ story here