Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

US Coast Guard slams Transocean in oil spill investigation

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 22, 2011
The US Coast Guard slammed drilling rig operator Transocean's "poor safety culture" in a report Friday on the massive explosion and fire that unleashed the biggest maritime oil spill in history.

Poor maintenance, inadequate training and the bypassing of alarms and automatic shutdown systems prevented the crew from shutting down the runaway well after it blew and led to a chaotic abandonment of the blazing Deepwater Horizon rig.

"The investigation revealed that Deepwater Horizon and its owner, Transocean, had serious safety management system failures and a poor safety culture," the Coast Guard concluded in a 288-page report.

"The company leaders' failure to commit to compliance with the International Safety Management Code created a safety culture throughout its fleet that could be described as: 'running it until it breaks,' 'only if it's convenient,' and 'going through the motions.'"

Transocean issued a statement refuting the conclusions and noted that the Coast Guard inspected the Deepwater Horizon seven months before the disaster and certified that the rig was in compliance with all applicable safety standards.

"We strongly disagree with -- and documentary evidence in the Coast Guard's possession refutes -- key findings in this report," the Switzerland-based company said in a statement.

"We look forward to setting the record straight."

Transocean came under fire earlier this month for awarding huge bonuses to executives for what it called its "best year in safety." The executives later donated the bonuses to the families of the 11 workers killed in the blast.

The report -- released on the one-year anniversary of the rig's sinking -- is just the first volume in the Coast Guard's investigation and does not touch upon the failures that led to the blowout or the effectiveness of the spill response.

It will, however, provide fodder for the legal battle over financial responsibility for the disaster that killed 11 workers and unleashed 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Well owner BP filed a $40 billion lawsuit Wednesday against Transocean, which subsequently filed a counter-suit.

BP has also sued oil services giant Halliburton, which was responsible for the well's flawed cement job, and parts manufacturer Cameron, supplier of the faulty blowout preventer.

A presidential commission tasked with investigating the spill blamed the disaster on management failures by BP, Halliburton and Transocean.

The Coast Guard report detailed a series of failures on the part of Transocean, including a history of safety code violations and the failure to investigate serious incidents, a poor maintenance record and a failure to replace key parts of the rig's critical blowout preventer.

Training was also a problem.

The rig's captain didn't realized he had the authority to activate the emergency disconnect system to cut off the flow of flammable gasses and wasted valuable time getting approval.

The crew member who received the gas alarms didn't know she was supposed to activate the emergency shutdown system, even though shutting down the engines could have averted the explosion.

Fire drills were perfunctory, and the crew never conducted drills on how to respond to a well blowout that required them to abandon ship, the report noted.

While the chaotic evacuation forced several crew members to jump off the blazing rig to safety, the Coast Guard cited the "heroic" action of several crew members who risked their lives to save the injured.

The report included dozens of recommendations for improving the overall safety of drilling rigs and preventing a similar disaster, including requiring emergency back-up generators, better lifeboats and better monitoring of vessels operating under foreign flags.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Post-Mubarak Egypt may cut gas to Israel
Cairo (UPI) Apr 22, 2011
Former Egyptian Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy has been arrested with five associates on charges of supplying Israel with natural gas at below-market prices, indicating a possible cutoff of supplies that could prove to be costly for Israel politically and economically. It could, in particular, bode ill for the historic 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel following the Feb. 11 downfall ... read more

Majority of European firms fail on carbon reporting: study

NASA Releases Scorecard On Energy And Sustainability Goals

Coal miners cold on Australia carbon tax

Nonprofits Awarded For Energy Efficiency And Water Conservation

New battery produces electricity where freshwater meets saltwater

US Coast Guard slams Transocean in oil spill investigation

Using the energy in oil shale without releasing carbon dioxide in a greenhouse world

Research Contracts Awarded For Renewable Biogas Processing And Carbon Capture

Google, Japanese invest $500 million in wind farm

Manitoba wind farm comes online

Alstom Announces Commercial Operation Of First North American Wind Farms

Vestas unveils new offshore turbine

Chevron Starts Operations Of 1MW CPV Solar Field

Solar Lighting Consortium Hopes to Develop Universal Specifications

Novel electrode for flexible thin-film solar cells

Photovoltaic Systems Boost the Sales Price of California Homes

Thousands join German anti-nuclear protests

Advancing the Debate Over Nuclear Waste Storage Locations

German nuclear exit could be costly

Anti-nuclear 'die in' on Franco-German border

Walki Biomass Cover: Improves Drying Process And Energy Content Of Energy Wood

Learn To Run A Biorefinery In A Virtual Control Room

Sugarcane Cools Climate

B3C Fuel Solutions Expands Efforts To Promote Ethanol Education

Asia's star ever brighter in space

What Future for Chang'e-2

China setting up new rocket production base

China's Tiangong-1 To Be Launched By Modified Long March II-F Rocket

Europe prays for Easter rain in worst drought for a century

Leaf Characteristics Improves Accuracy Measuring Past Climates

Swiss face one of worst droughts on record

Top US court considers major climate change case

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement