The American Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is scheduled to release its findings of an investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster that caused the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill this week. The CSB is one of several federal regulatory bodies that has investigated the incident, which lead to the death of 11 marine workers and caused widespread destruction of marine life along a large portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
The CSB will release the results of their investigation in a hearing on the 23rd and 24th of July. Sources have indicated that the CSB has found information that suggests that worker fatigue may have contributed to the Deepwater Horizon incident, raising questions about who should be liable for the disaster. According to reliable informants, the workers on the oil rig had recently been changed from a 2 week to a 3 week work schedule when the incident occurred. ‘We were all exhausted, mistakes are easy to make when you are that tired’ says a crew member from the rig who would like to remain anonymous.
The board is also expected to release more information into the Macondo well blowout preventer, which malfunctioned after the accident leading to a destructive flow of oil that continued to seep from the damaged rig for 87 days after the accident occurred, causing immeasurable environmental damage. The CSB investigation is hoping to add more insight into what went wrong with the preventer, to add information to the findings of the Interior Department and Coast Guard’s investigation into the incident. According to that examination, the drill pipe of the blowout preventer was affected by the gas spilling from the rig, preventing the blades from cutting cleanly through the piping and sealing the well.
The first federal board to investigate the disaster was the Deepwater Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which concluded that there were a number of factors that contributed to the incident, including negligence on the part of Halliburton, BP and Transocean. According to their report, workers were encouraged to bring in wells as quickly as possible, with little regard to safety regulations. The JIT was responsible for determining the cause of the incident and for making recommendations to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future.
As an independent agency, the CSB’s findings are expected to shed further light on whether offshore drilling violations played a contributing role in the disaster. A number of Deepwater Horizon crew members have filed lawsuits against BP and the other bodies found to be liable for the incident.