22 April 2011 20:37 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US Coast Guard (USCG) on Friday issued a preliminary report on its investigation of the 20 April 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, saying that poor maintenance and practices by rig operator Transocean and its crew contributed to the disaster.
In a 288-page preliminary report, the Coast Guard said that the events leading to the disaster and the loss of 11 crew members “were set into motion by the failure to prevent a well blowout”, for which the report did not attribute responsibility.
The Coast Guard analysis begins at the point when gas and oil erupted onto the drill floor of the floating platform and were ignited by an unknown source.
While the well blow-out was the initial cause of the accident, the report said, “the investigation revealed numerous systems deficiencies, and acts and omissions by Transocean and its Deepwater Horizon crew, that had an adverse impact on the ability to prevent or limit the magnitude of the disaster”.
“These included poor maintenance of electrical equipment that may have ignited the explosion, bypassing of gas alarms and automatic shutdown systems that could prevent an explosion, and lack of training of personnel on when and how to shut down engines and disconnect the [Deepwater Horizon] from the well to avoid a gas explosion and mitigate the damage from an explosion and fire,” the report said.
“These deficiencies indicate that Transocean’s failure to have an effective safety management system and instil a culture that emphasises and ensures safety contributed to this disaster,” the report added.
The report came two days after BP filed lawsuits seeking a total of $40bn (€27.6bn) from Transocean for alleged systems failures on the rig and from Cameron International, the company that manufactured the blowout preventer.
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The preliminary Coast Guard report is to be part of an overall joint investigation that includes separate inquiries being made by the US Interior Department’s bureau of ocean energy management, regulation and enforcement (BOEMRE).
The Coast Guard said that its preliminary report details 61 conclusions about the explosion and sinking, makes 54 safety recommendations and advises nine administrative changes “to prevent an accident similar to the Deepwater Horizon”.
The complete text of the Coast Guard Deepwater Horizon report is available at its web site.
An earlier report on the Deepwater Horizon accident was issued in January this year by a special presidential commission.
($1 = €0.69)
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