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23 Jul 2010

David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post

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

[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...If the safety system was disabled, it would not have been unusual. 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."

Part of the following timelines

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US Deepwater Horizon explosion & oil spill lawsuits