Improper maintenance, insufficient staff training and badly designed safety systems may have contributed to last year’s deadly explosion – Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease

Improper maintenance, insufficient staff training and badly designed safety systems may have contributed to last year’s deadly explosion – Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease

DETROIT – (April 22, 2011) Reports Improper maintenance, insufficient staff training and badly designed safety systems may have contributed to last year’s deadly explosion on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a U.S. Coast Guard investigation.

The report, while reprising some earlier findings, is a damning critique of rig owner Transocean, a Swiss company that owns and operates the world’s largest fleet of deepwater drilling vessels. Oil giant BP PLC had a long-term contract with Transocean to drill wells in the Gulf.

Transocean “had serious safety management system failures and a poor safety culture,” the Coast Guard said. The report cites several shortcomings on the rig, which exploded a year ago, killing 11 workers and leaving an uncapped well a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico that gushed 4.9 million barrels of crude before it was sealed.

A Transocean spokesman said: “We strongly disagree with—and documentary evidence in the Coast Guard’s possession refutes—key findings in this report.”

The focus on Transocean was due in part to the Coast Guard’s area of jurisdiction. Because the Deepwater Horizon was a floating drilling rig, it is considered a ship under U.S. rules. As a result, the Coast Guard oversaw maritime aspects of the rig, including firefighting. Another agency, the Department of Interior, oversees drilling operations.

The Coast Guard found that Transocean did an inadequate job of tracking the maintenance of its electrical equipment, allowing some equipment to be in “poor condition” at the time of the blowout. The report says this equipment may have sparked the explosion after the out-of-control well unleashed a cloud of flammable methane onto the rig.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and its owner, Transocean, had serious safety management system failures and a poor safety culture, according to a new Coast Guard report. Ben Casselman has details.

In addition, the gas-detection system was ineffective, the report found. While the rig had a series of mechanisms to alert the crew when flammable gas was present, the system relied on an operator to manually turn on alarms, shut down the engines and stop the flow of gas-contaminated air into the engine rooms. The report said the bridge crew was not properly trained to perform these tasks.

Explosions in the engine-room area could have been avoided or delayed if the system was designed to automatically take these steps when gas was detected, the report concluded.

Transocean disputes this finding, in particular. “The general alarm configuration on the Deepwater Horizon was intentional and conforms to accepted maritime practices,” said a spokesman. “It was not a safety oversight or done as a matter of convenience.”

The Coast Guard also focused on the safety device called the blowout preventer, a giant set of underwater valves designed to shut off the well in an emergency. The report noted that Transocean failed to perform a thorough recertification inspection of the blowout preventer, as required, every three to five years, and that several parts should have been replaced.

Once the explosion hit, the crew didn’t follow Transocean’s own evacuation procedures, and firefighting systems failed when the rig lost power.

Transocean says the Coast Guard inspected the Deepwater Horizon just seven months before the explosion and certified it as being fully compliant with all applicable safety standards, including those associated with fire and gas detection systems.

The Coast Guard also turned the spotlight on itself, determining that its system of overseeing foreign-flagged rigs was “insufficient” and allowed the Deepwater Horizon to operate for years in the Gulf without detailed scrutiny by the U.S. government. The rig was operated under the flag of the Marshall Islands, a small archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, which contracted with two maritime classification groups to oversee the vessel.

The Marshall Islands, in a statement, said it follows all international conventions and laws and has recently received high marks from international bodies for its inspection regime.

The investigation’s scrutiny was not limited to this one disaster. For instance, the investigators note that the rig’s chief electrician testified that certain problems with the gas-detector system were longstanding and common throughout Transocean’s fleet.

The Coast Guard and Interior Department jointly conducted 25 days of public hearings over the past year, interviewing dozens of people involved in the incident, and some of the findings in Friday’s report had been highlighted in the hearings.

The two agencies had planned to release a joint report. But on Friday, the Coast Guard released its own report, addressing only its areas of jurisdiction. As a result, the report focused on the fire, evacuation and sinking of the rig, but not on what caused the blowout that allowed gas to reach the rig in the first place. The Department of Interior is expected to release its own report in the next few weeks..

For more information please visit us at:

About Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease

Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease Commercial (DLC Clearlease/ is a fully diversified Lease Finance Mortgage Banking Brokerage Company specializing in Equipment Leasing, Automobile Leasing, Residential, Commercial Lending/Mortgage Financing. DLC Clearlease possesses the capability to accommodate financing needs ranging from a small second Home Mortgage to a Multi-Million Dollar Commercial Projects. No mortgage is too small or too large for this integrated Company.

Headquartered in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. We’re expanding in Q2, 2011 to Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta! In Q3, 2011 we are expanding in Toronto, Ontario! Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease services clients from Coast to Coast. Our Residential Group has a team of Licensed Mortgage Brokers offering our clients the best terms and rates available in the current market. Our Commercial Funding/Mortgage Group is active across Canada Funding Mortgages in cities such as Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.

You may have recently seen a Dominion Lending advertisement on such media outlets as: Global News, CTV News, CBC Television, Rogers Sportsnet or possibly heard the great Don Cherry, a Canadian Sports legend, discuss Dominion Lending Centres.

Contact DLC

Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease
HEAD OFFICE, Bentall Two, Suite 900, 555 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, V7X 1M8, CANADA.
Mr. A. Pidgeon, Editor in Chief
Tel: (604) 696-1221 ext. 177
eMail: [email protected]
Twitter: @clearlease


Tags: No tags

Comments are closed.