Nigerian Labor Strike Continues. . .

Transocean Inc. said that the labor strike affecting drilling operations on four of the company's rigs offshore Nigeria continues, with all 370 people remaining on board the rigs. Efforts to resolve the strike are ongoing and include discussions with local and national members of the labor union. The strike involves 100 members of the local branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), and the national union has informed Transocean that it does not support the strike by the local branch. A court injunction has also been issued ordering workers to leave the rigs. The situation on all four rigs remains calm and orderly, and no efforts have been made by the Nigerian Navy or other third parties to board the rigs. The company continues its efforts to resolve the matter through dialogue with the union and remains in close contact with government officials.

The labor strike began on April 16 on the semisubmersible M.G. Hulme, Jr. and on April 19 on the semisubmersible rig Sedco 709 and the jackup rigs Trident VI and Trident VIII by the local members of NUPENG. The strike was allegedly called to protest disciplinary proceedings against certain personnel belonging to NUPENG. At this time the company cannot estimate the possible length of the strike or its financial impact.

President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for talks on Friday to try to end a strike by Nigerian oil workers, who have seized four offshore rigs. Joseph Akinlaja, secretary general of blue-collar oil union NUPENG said Obasanjo asked Nigeria's main labor union, the NLC, to call the meeting between strikers and rig owners Transocean. The strikers want reinstatement for five union officials who were disciplined by Transocean.

Nigerian naval chiefs have been holding crisis talks in the region's main city of Port Harcourt since Wednesday. The flag officer of the regional command, Commodore Ganiyu Adekeye, said the navy was monitoring the situation. "We are assured that everybody is safe," he said. "We have been monitoring to ensure that things don't really go bad, including the safety of the expatriates."