BP Spill Caught the Coast Guard Unprepared
Posted on Apr 9, 2011
Looking back over the disastrous BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year, an internal review by the U.S. Coast Guard has concluded that the seagoing service was poorly prepared for such an event and that the cleanup itself was riddled with planning failures. —JCL
The report, which was commissioned by the Coast Guard, found that the agency’s preparedness for environmental crises had “atrophied over the past decade” as the guard confronted its expanded security responsibilities in the post-9/11 world. This resulted in significant coordination and communication problems during the spill response as well as a lack of familiarity with long-established procedures among many of the response workers.
The review, completed in January, was quietly made public by the Coast Guard last month. It was prepared by a team of experts that included two retired Coast Guard admirals as well as officials from several federal and state agencies, with substantial involvement from representatives from the oil industry, the spill response industry and the environmental community.
AP / Patrick Semansky
Coast Guard Capt. Hung Nguyen, co-chair of the Deepwater Horizon investigation hearings, listens to testimony from a BP staffer last October.