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Two Louisiana companies have joined a lawsuit aimed at nullifying the six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The suit, which names the federal government as defendant, was filed this week by Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc., a vessel service company that says it expects costly losses from the moratorium.

Hornbeck's suit claims the government illegally ordered the moratorium, which many in the petroleum industry expect to stifle deepwater drilling.

Late Wednesday, Bollinger Shipyards Inc. and several offshore services companies controlled by the family of Gary Chouest joined the suit.

Chouest is nearing completion of a deal to buy the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA.

A hearing is set July 28 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

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