In addition to the fishermen and hoteliers whose livelihoods have been devastated by BP’s hemorrhaging undersea oil well, another group of Gulf Coast residents is beginning to suffer: the tens of thousands of workers like Ronald Brown who run the equipment or serve in support roles on deepwater oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Brown, known as Rusty to his friends, is a “shakerhand.” In the rugged vernacular of offshore drilling, that means he monitors the mud flowing back from the drill hole thousands of feet below.
He works aboard the Ocean Monarch, which was idled along with 32 other oil rigs when the Obama administration ordered a six-month moratorium on all deepwater drilling after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The rig’s owner is now seeking customers in other parts of the world. If the rig moves, Mr. Brown and his fellow motormen, roughnecks and roustabouts will be left behind, jobless, with few alternatives that would pay anything close to the $3,500 to $4,000 a month typical for such jobs.
Full story: Drilling Moratorium Means Hard Times for Gulf Rig Workers – NYTimes.com