Alarms Were Disabled on Doomed Oil Rig
Posted on Jul 23, 2010
A chief engineer has testified to a federal panel investigating the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon that, despite his repeated admonishments, alarms and other safety systems aboard the offshore oil rig had been left disabled or unrepaired in the months leading up to the catastrophic April 20 blast.
Los Angeles Times:
Critical fire and gas leak alarm systems had been disabled for at least a year aboard the Deepwater Horizon because the rig’s leaders didn’t want to wake up to false alarms, a rig chief engineer tech told federal investigators.
“I discovered it was ‘inhibited’ about a year ago,” said Mike Williams, the chief engineer tech who worked for rig owner Transocean aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which erupted in flames April 20, killing 11 men and starting the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
“I inquired,” Williams told an investigative panel from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Interior Department in suburban New Orleans. “The explanation I got was that from the [offshore installation manager] down, they did not want people to wake up at 3 a.m. due to false alarm,” Williams said. Williams later said the rig’s captain had also agreed that the alarms were to be disabled.