Human rights impacts of oil pollution: US Gulf Coast

Human rights impacts of oil pollution: US Gulf Coast - Companies' actions & roles in explosion & spill

Rig warning system

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Technician for Deepwater Horizon testifies that warning system disabled”, David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post, 23 Jul 2010
“…[A]n alarm system [on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig] designed to automatically alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled, the former chief electronics technician on the rig testified Friday.  Michael Williams,...told a federal panel probing the disaster that other critical systems had been functioning unreliably in the run-up to the blowout… Williams said that when he discovered that the alarm system was inhibited, he reported it to supervisors.  He said they informed him that orders were to keep it that way.  The Deepwater Horizon was owned by Transocean, which employs Williams, and was operating under contract to BP... Transocean provided statements taken from crew members saying they heard alarms, and it also released part of an April inspection report that found 'no [gas] detectors either in fault or inhibited condition, other than units being serviced.'”

Deepwater Horizon safety alerts were bypassed to avoid false alarms, witness says”, David Hammer, Times-Picayune, 23 Jul 2010
“[Rig] leaders had decided to bypass…key safety functions before the…explosions…, according to staggering testimony from the rig's chief electronics technician…, Mike Williams, an employee of rig owner Transocean…[who] said..higher-ups insisted on [“inhibiting” the warning systems] for such reasons as not wanting to be awakened in the middle of the night… The decision appears to have been a game-changer for the 11 men who were killed in the accident, especially those working on the drill floor at the time.  When methane gas shot onto the rig a little before 10 p.m., the bypassed alarm meant the men on the drill floor had no audio or visual warning to help them escape…”

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Article
23 July 2010

Technician for Deepwater Horizon testifies that warning system disabled [USA]

Author: David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post

[A]n alarm system [on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig] designed to automatically alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled, the former chief electronics technician on the rig...

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