"These men are told they have to sign these statements or they can't go home"

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While BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton squabble and posture in Washington today in front of a Senate committee, each insisting that the other guy did it, comes this story off the AP wire. And we'd hate to see it get lost in the oily hurlyburly ...

Workers aboard an exploding offshore drilling platform were told to sign statements denying they were hurt or witnessed the blast that rocked the rig, killed 11 and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, their attorneys said Tuesday.

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.

"Our focus has been on the crewmembers and their families, working with all parties in the response efforts and conducting a Transocean investigation into the incident," he said Monday.

More here, including interviews with people who had been plucked out of the Gulf and say they were asked to sign statements.

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