Justice Dept. Grabs BP’s Blowout Preventer as ‘Evidentiary Material’

September 5, 2010

(ChattahBox US News)—BP removed the faulty blowout preventer from the Deepwater Horizon’s underwater well on Saturday. The device was immediately taken into custody by the Department of Justice, with investigators from the F.B.I., also on hand overseeing the transfer of evidence in a potential criminal case. National Incident Commander Thad Allen, called the blowout preventer “evidentiary material,” and it’s now safely secured on a vessel bound for New Orleans.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, killed 11 workers and damaged the underwater Macondo well, causing millions of gallons of oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, in one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.

The device “was taken into custody by the U.S. Department of Justice as evidence in its ongoing investigation into the incident,” BP said. The blowout preventer was lifted to the surface at 8:53 p.m. (9:53 p.m. ET).

Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s national incident commander, said the huge blowout preventer “is considered evidentiary material.”

Thad Allen, said the well “does not constitute a threat to the Gulf of Mexico.” A new blowout preventer was installed and the permanent sealing of the well, with the completion of the relief well in mid-September, will put an end to the disaster.

Next, comes legal wrangling over the forensic investigation of the blowout preventer. Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, operated by BP, objected to the U.S. Justice Department having sole custody of the blowout preventer and full control of the investigative process. While the device is stored in New Orleans, a federal judge will rule on the legal objections of the parties involved.

The maker of the blowout preventer, Cameron International Corp., lost a legal bid to delay the removal of the device, with the judge ruling the company’s request would interfere with BP’s efforts to seal the well.


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