Nigerian strike over, repercussions just beginning

Transocean Inc said the strike that has crippled four of its rigs in the Nigerian Delta for the last two weeks has effectively ended. All crew who were due for rotation, and their captors, have returned to shore. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.

The end to the siege came after a communique by the Nigeria Labour Congress ordered the striking personnel to cease their action and allow the remaining personnel to leave the four rigs.

The company is attempting to get the rigs back to full production as quickly as possible and meetings have been scheduled to address the strikers' concerns.

Over 250 workers were held hostage for two weeks on the four rigs stationed 25 miles off the Nigerian coast, with the navy making plans at one stage to storm the rigs to release the captives.

The strike has exacerbated tension in the country's oil fields with another international company, Tracer Exploration, dropping its planned joint venture with West Africa Energy Ltd in the Sao Tome and Principe developments following the political strife and associated violence.