06/21/2010 03:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Offshore Drilling Companies Sue To Attempt To Get Drilling Ban Lifted

NEW ORLEANS -- Companies that ferry people and supplies to offshore oil rigs are asking a judge to overturn a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard two hours of arguments Monday in a lawsuit filed by Hornbeck Offshore, a Covington, La.-based oilfield service company. Feldman says he'll rule by Wednesday.

The moratorium was ordered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It affects 33 projects that were under way when the BP-operated rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers, and sank two days later.

Hornbeck, which operates offshore vessels, was joined in the suit by other companies that service offshore rigs. The suit claims the Interior Department did not have proof that the projects pose a threat.