Oil Rig Survivors Describe ‘Chaos,’ as Safety Alarms Failed

May 7, 2010

(ChattahBox)— Some of the injured Deepwater Horizon oil rig workers are now speaking out about the deadly explosion that claimed 11 lives. Workers told ABC News that the situation on the oil rig was chaotic with numerous safety measures failing, including the alarm warning,which should have sounded before the blast.

“The first sign of trouble came when workers on the rig started to inject seawater into the well to replace a plug of mud that had been holding back the gas and oil. One of the valves on a massive safety device called a “blowout preventer” should have been closed, but was open, according to Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, who has been following developments out in the Gulf. That change in pressure would have launched the contents of the well pipe – first the seawater and mud, then the gas – up towards the surface.”

The gas exploded into a deadly fireball, with the rig sinking into the ocean days later, spewing out toxic crude oil into the Gulf. The coastal communities along the Gulf of Mexico now face an economic and environmental disaster.

BP and other oil rig operators have long boasted of the fail-safe “blowout preventer.” But as we know now, the device is not infallible and according to ABC’s report, the device has a history of malfunctioning that was well known in the industry:

A Transocean official, presenting his findings at an industry conference in 2003, wrote: “Poor BOP reliability is a common and very costly issue confronting all offshore drilling contractors.” Transocean is the owner of Deepwater Horizon, leased by BP.

Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-FL) opposes an expansion in offshore drilling. “We saw that this device didn’t work. And there were three different backup systems, each one of them didn’t work. And now we’re suffering the consequences,” he said.


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