On Friday, Coast Guard officials suspended the three-day search for 11 workers missing since an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon. It is believed that the men never made it off the platform. The 11 missing workers came from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Neither the Coast Guard nor their employers have released their names. Steven Newman, CEO of Transocean Ltd., which owns the rig, said Friday night that 8 of the 9 missing Transocean workers were part of the crew that operated the platform’s drills. The other 2 workers were employees of a BP contractor. The other 115 crew members made it off the platform; several were hurt but only two remained hospitalized Friday. The most seriously injured worker was expected to be released within about 10 days.
Karl Kleppinger Sr., whose 38-year-old son, Karl, was one of the 11 missing workers, said he doesn’t blame the Coast Guard for calling off the search. “Given the magnitude of the explosion and the fire, I don’t see where you would be able to find anything,” said Kleppinger, of Zachary, La.
The rig was the site of a 2005 fire found to have been caused by human error. An MMS investigation determined that a crane operator on the rig had become distracted while refueling the crane, allowing diesel fuel to overflow. Records show the fire was quickly contained, but caused $60,000 in damage to the crane.
An MMS review published last year found 41 deaths and 302 injuries out of 1,443 oil-rig accidents from 2001 to 2007. An analysis of the accidents found a lack of communication between the operator and contractors, a lack of written procedures, a failure to enforce existing procedures and other problems.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called for a congressional investigation of safety practices at offshore oil rigs. Dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries over the last several years in the offshore drilling industry are proof that safety needs to be focused on. The U.S. Minerals and Management Service is developing regulations aimed at preventing human error, which it identified as a factor in many of the more than 1,400 offshore oil drilling accidents between 2001 and 2007. Our Transocean oil rig explosion attorneys support any efforts to improve safety for offshore workers. Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers