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September 30th, 2016

SMSH Legal remembers Deepwater Horizon client in wake of movie release

Deepwater Horizon was released nationwide today in theaters, more than six years after the explosion claimed the lives of 11 crew members and left an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.  The movie is expected to chronicle the events that led up to and during the catastrophe in what is considered the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

Lead Counsel Matthew Shaffer represented the family of crew member, Blair Manuel, who was killed in the explosion. “Hopefully, this film will accurately portray the decision making process that led up to this tragedy, as well as the horrific consequences the working men and women aboard the Deepwater Horizon faced as they struggled to survive the explosion and inferno,” says Shaffer. “Unfortunately, one of our clients was among the eleven that did not survive.” Mr. Manuel was employed as a senior drilling fluids specialist by MI-SWACO, which supplied materials to the Deepwater Horizon. He is survived by three daughters.

What happened?

The fatal incident occurred the night of April 20, 2010 , approximately 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana. At the time, the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig owned and operated by Transocean, was being used to drill from the Macondo Prospect, an exploratory well owned by BP (British Petroleum.) It was in the process of completing its exploration when a surge of natural gas blasted through the well’s cement seal, ultimately igniting the explosion. Subsequently, the rig capsized and sank two days later. About 1,000 of barrels of oil per day leaked from the well until it was finally plugged 87 days later on July 15, 2010.

The human and environmental significance of this impact prompted BP, Transocean and other governmental agencies to take immediate action in cleaning-up the spill. Their response effort involved a variety of methods including the use of dispersants to emulsify the oil, deployment of booms to corral portions of the slick, and manual labor. In all, an estimated 1,100 miles of shoreline was polluted.

In addition to Blair Manuel’s family, Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers also represented workers from Transocean, Oceaneering and M-I SWACO who were involved in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

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