Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

20 years of Harry Potter

Read more

THE DEBATE

Modi meets Trump: The ties that bind US and India leaders

Read more

FOCUS

Left-wing activism on the rise in the United States

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

'Huge failure' on refugee crisis is 'existential problem for EU'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Divisions over migration policy: What should the EU do?

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A trip through France's breathtaking Auvergne region

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

When Modi met Trump: Budding romance or one-night stand?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

How to counter Islamic State group propaganda?

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Coal power plant in Senegal worries residents; and the Venezuelan TV show... in a bus

Read more

Americas

Oil rig emergency alarm 'intentionally disabled' before blast

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-24

An emergency alarm that should have alerted workers aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon rig of its impeding deadly explosion was muted by managers who didn't want to be awakened during the night by false alarms, a rig technician revealed on Friday.

REUTERS - An emergency alarm that could have warned workers aboard the doomed Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico drilling rig was intentionally disabled, a rig engineer told U.S. investigators on Friday.

Mike Williams, chief engineer technician aboard Swiss-based Transocean Ltd’s rig, said the general alarm that could have detected the cloud of flammable methane gas that enveloped the rig’s deck on April 20 was "inhibited."

"They (rig managers) did not want people woke up at three o’clock in the morning from false alarms," Williams told a six-member federal board in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, Louisiana.

Williams’ testimony capped a week of testimony from company officials involved in the rig, which exploded on April 20 and sank two days later, killing 11 crewmen and sparking the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The Transocean-owned rig was drilling a well a mile (1.6 km) beneath the Gulf under contract for London-based BP Plc..

Four Transocean witnesses declined to appear voluntarily on Wednesday at the hearings before a joint U.S. panel convened by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement.

The board on Thursday declared two BP officials "parties of interest" in the investigation, after they declined to appear.

The panel will convene for another week of hearings in Houston from Aug. 23 to 27, where high-level managers from BP and Transocean are scheduled to testify.

At this week’s hearings, Transocean officials recited a litany of mechanical problems that plagued the rig, which was 43 days behind schedule in drilling the Macondo well, which rig workers referred to as the "well from hell."

Williams, who has filed a lawsuit against Transocean, said a computer system that monitored well drilling operations, known as the "A chair," was often offline due to technical issues.

"We called it the blue screen of death," Williams said. "It would turn blue and you would have no data coming through."
 

Date created : 2010-07-24

  • USA

    Tropical storm forces Gulf oil spill vessels to pull back

    Read more

  • ENERGY

    BP sells major assets to pay for oil spill clean-up

    Read more

COMMENT(S)