In an article on the New York Times Mike Williams, chief electronics technician aboard the Transocean rig, testified that emergency alarms and procedures were routinely disabled or just set to bypass mode. The safety alarm system was set to "inhibited" to avoid its noisy siren going off and waking the crew in the middle of the night. Unfortunately when the rig caught fire, that siren did not alert anyone and 11 men died.
On Friday, Mr. Williams added several new details about the equipment on the vessel, testifying that another Transocean official turned a critical system for removing dangerous gas from the drilling shack to “bypass mode.” When he questioned that decision, Mr. Williams said, he was reprimanded.The rest of the article details even more infractions and for me it was sickening. The whole thing smacks of corporate expediency and just plain cutting corners at the expense of safety and the environment. In case you are wondering, that adds up to just plain GREED. Make money as fast and as long as you can and if there are accidents, well that will not show up in this quarter's report.
“No, the damn thing’s been in bypass for five years,” he recalled being told by Mark Hay, the subsea supervisor. “Why’d you even mess with it?”
He recalled that Mr. Hay added: “The entire fleet runs them in ‘bypass.’ ”
Problems existed from the beginning of drilling the well, Mr. Williams said. For months, the computer system had been locking up, producing what the crew deemed the “blue screen of death.”
“It would just turn blue,” he said. “You’d have no data coming through.”
Replacement hardware had been ordered but not yet installed by the time of the disaster, he said.
The result of these investigations is still in play, but from what I have read, BP, Transocean and the rest have no business operating in US waters. Furthermore, the callous disregard for safety shown by BP and Transocean must be rectified. I sincerely believe that the only just way to deal with these criminals is to seize their assets and either sell them off for damages or operate them safely to pay for the lives and livelihoods they have destroyed. Just fining them a few billion is not enough. They need to be put out of business.