What is most shocking about this report is it comes months ahead for the MMS – now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) – report which will discuss the cause of the event. This is bad news for mariners. Why? The national media looks for immediate news and worries little if the report comes from MMS or the USCG, meaning they will likely try to asses blame for the event based on the USCG findings which, by nature, single out the actions of the Captain and marine crew… parties that have near zero culpability in causing the disaster. Further, the media is unlikely to focus on the simple fact that the marine crew, and nearby workboat – Tidewater’s Damon Bankston, rescued all 115 who where not immediately killed in the explosion.
Even more troubling is the fact BOEMRE and USCG continue to work separately despite a pre-existing Memorandum of Agreement stating:
Upon completion of the joint investigation, the team will simultaneously issue a single report to the Director of the Minerals Management Service and the Commandant of the Coast Guard containing the evidence brought forward, facts established and its conclusions and recommendations. The Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Director of the Minerals Management Service will jointly sign and release the final report. The team has been given nine months, from the date of the convening order (April 27, 2010), to submit the final report.
This troubles me because a primary cause of the event was lack of joint government oversight which could have been prevented if both organizations had cooperated better during previous inspections of the Deepwater Horizon. This was a point I made in a 2009 interview with CG Commandant Admiral Allen and one I again highlighted weeks before the incident in a post titled Top 10 Failures Of The USCG.
The Coast Guard’s publishing of the report ahead of BOEMRE makes us worry that the media will shift an unfair amount of the blame to mariners aboard the Horizon and makes us question the, much needed, continuance of the USCG and BOEMRE’s working relationship.
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