25 Nov Oil company charged with involuntary manslaughter in rig explosion
A day after BP agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the deadly 2010 rig explosion that killed 11 workers and spawned its massive oil spill in the Gulf, another explosion and fire started on an offshore oil platform owned by Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations.
Black Elk Energy and one of its contractors, Grand Isle Shipyards Inc. were charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter, as well as eight charges involving federal safety practices under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and one violation of the Clean Water Act.
“Workers’ lives can depend on their employer’s faithfulness to the law, not least of all those working in oil and gas production where safety must be a paramount concern,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.
Black Elk Energy’s platform was located about 17 miles from Grand Isle, Louisiana, in about 52 feet of water. It had been “shut in” for several weeks and wasn’t producing oil at the time of the blast, but workers were on the platform preparing to resume production.
On the morning of Nov. 16, 2012, a worker ignited oil vapors while welding pipe, triggering a chain reaction that caused oil tanks to explode.
The welding work that ultimately triggered the blast was discussed at a safety meeting on that very morning. Harold Seghers Jr., a mechanic who was a member of Srubar’s crew, testified last year that Moss showed up at the end of the meeting and told workers “to finish up today because he was ready to go home and drink a beer.”
“I took it kind of offensively, because he was rushing these people up, and when you rush, mistakes are made,” Seghers said during a lawsuit deposition.
A 2013 report by federal regulators identified a string of safety lapses that led to the explosion. According to witness statements, some workers consistently worried about losing their jobs if they raised safety concerns.
Black Elk is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
If you are injured in an oilfield accident, to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for your injury, an experienced oil rig accident personal injury attorney can assist you in determining which course of action is right to pursue for your specific case.
Contact Baggett, McCall, Burgess, Watson & Gaughan, LLC in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for a free consultation or call 337-478-888 or 800-256-1137 now to speak directly with an experienced personal injury, wrongful death, and oil rig accident lawyer.
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