[The New York Times] Oil Rig’s Siren Was Kept Silent, Technician Says:
New details emerge describing a history of safety failures on the ill-fated rig:
An engineering expert told investigators that the crew members had incorrectly performed a critical test of emergency equipment and did not detect a dangerous “kick” of gas roughly an hour before the explosion.
Mr. Williams, who filed a lawsuit against Transocean in federal court in New Orleans on April 29, added several new details about the equipment on the rig, testifying that another Transocean official had turned a critical system for removing dangerous gas from the drilling shack to “bypass mode.” When Mr. Williams questioned that decision, he said he was reprimanded.“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?” Mr. Williams recalled that Mr. Hay added, “The entire fleet runs them in ‘bypass.’ ”
In the final weeks of drilling, supervisors were under intense financial pressure to complete the ill-fated well, several witness have testified. BP was 43 days behind schedule when the rig exploded, costing the company about $1 million a day in rig rental rates, company officials say.