Deepwater Horizon unseaworthy, witness says

A WITNESS in the civil trial over the Deepwater Horizon disaster has testified that he believed the rig was unseaworthy due to a litany of training and maintenance issues.
Deepwater Horizon unseaworthy, witness says Deepwater Horizon unseaworthy, witness says Deepwater Horizon unseaworthy, witness says Deepwater Horizon unseaworthy, witness says Deepwater Horizon unseaworthy, witness says

Vener Marine president Geoff Webster told the court: "I think she was unseaworthy several years prior to this, due to lack of maintenance, lack of training and everything else we have discussed during my testimony".

In a report included in court documents that he wrote in 2011, Webster also said the rig's crew had overridden a system designed to alert it to the presence of hazardous gas and shut-in certain vessel equipment to eliminate potential gas ignition sources.

He said Transocean had turned the system to one requiring human intervention, even though it had failed to train the crew responsible for monitoring and responding to the alarm system in a worst-case scenario.

"The manual over-ride action, combined with an incompetent crew, allowed flammable gas to reach ignition sources on the vessel," he says in his report.

"Thereafter, a complete loss of vessel power occurred, followed by at least two explosions and an uncontrollable fire at sea.

"From the naval architecture and marine engineering and surveying standpoints, disabling the vessel's gas and fire suppression systems was reckless conduct by Transocean.

"A marine surveyor would find the overridden system rendered the vessel unseaworthy."

Throughout Webster's testimony there are examples of where maintenance issues have been flagged and reported as closed out but no work has been done.

On the maintenance issues, there was a report that a rig saver on one of the engines was not working properly. The rig saver essentially stops hydrocarbons entering the turbochargers on the rig's thrusters. This prevents them from continuing to run even if the fuel has been cut to them.

Perhaps more troubling was the issue of a key hydraulic hose for the blowout preventer that had not been changed since 1998 and was in poor condition.

However, as also was raised in court, the American Bureau of Shipping had deemed the rig fit for service and it possessed all the requisite international and US certifications.

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