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Coast Guard Criticizes Transocean’s Safety Culture

April 24, 2011

In a report on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard criticized Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig by saying the company had “poor safety culture.”

The report said that poor maintenance, inadequate training and the bypassing of alarms and automatic shutdown systems prevented the crew from shutting down the well after it blew, and led to a chaotic abandonment of the blazing Deepwater Horizon rig.

“The investigation revealed that Deepwater Horizon and its owner, Transocean, had serious safety management system failures and a poor safety culture,” the Coast Guard concluded in a 288-page report.

“The company leaders’ failure to commit to compliance with the International Safety Management Code created a safety culture throughout its fleet that could be described as: ‘running it until it breaks,’ ‘only if it’s convenient,’ and ‘going through the motions.’”

The report is just the first volume in the Coast Guard’s investigation and does not touch on the failures that led to the blowout or the effectiveness of the spill response.

However, the report will provide a source for the legal battle over financial responsibility for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

BP filed a $40 billon lawsuit against Transocean on Wednesday.  The oil company also filed a suit against Halliburton, which was responsible for the well’s flawed cement job.

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