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The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator has today released the DEEPWATER HORIZON Marine Casualty Investigation Report (RMI Report).
In accordance with national and international requirements, the RMI Report has been provided to the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Maritime Administrator has also provided a copy of the RMI Report to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). The RMI Report may be downloaded in its entirety via this link.
On 20 April 2010 the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) DEEPWATER HORIZON (hereinafter, the “DEEPWATER HORIZON” or the “Unit”) was completing drilling operations at the Macondo well, Mississippi Canyon Block 252 OCS-G 32306 #1, oil exploration project in the Gulf of Mexico on the United States (US) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in preparation to temporarily abandon the well. During these operations, there was a loss of well control that resulted in a release of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons, which culminated in explosions, fire, the loss of 11 lives, the eventual sinking and total loss of the DEEPWATER HORIZON, and the continuous release of hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico. The flow was stopped on 15 July 2010 and the well declared sealed on 19 September 2010.
Pursuant to section 710 of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Act 1990, as amended (hereinafter, the “Maritime Act”), the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1983 (UNCLOS), the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS), and the Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into A Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (hereinafter, the “Casualty Investigation Code”), the Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator (hereinafter, the “Administrator”) has conducted an independent flag State marine casualty investigation of the DEEPWATER HORIZON casualty. In conducting the investigation, the Administrator drew upon documents submitted to the US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Homeland Security Joint Investigation (hereinafter, the “Joint Investigation”) team, testimony before the Joint Investigation team, its own investigators’ findings, and, where necessary, outside experts. To assist in its understanding and analysis of engineering and technical aspects, the Administrator retained drilling, engineering, and fire science consultants whose reports, entitled Casualty Investigation of MODU DEEPWATER HORIZON: Fire Origin Investigation (hereinafter, the “Fire Origin Report”) and Report of the Loss of Well Control and Assessment of Contributing Factors for the Macondo Well Mississippi Canyon Block 252 OCS-G 32306 #1 Well (hereinafter, the “Well Control Report”), have been drawn upon in determining relevant details and conclusions regarding the casualty.2 This casualty investigation report contains findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations, focusing on the marine operations of the Unit, which are the purview of the flag State. Although not regulated by the flag State, the industrial operations of the Unit are discussed, in so far as they are necessary to provide a complete picture of the casualty or where they may have impacted the overall safety of the Unit.
Pursuant to this investigation, the primary causal factor conclusions, non-causal factor conclusions, and recommendations are:
CAUSAL FACTOR CONCLUSIONS
Although the Administrator does not have oversight responsibility for drilling operations on the US OCS, based on its assessment of the evidence in the investigative record and the attached Well Control Report, the Administrator concludes that the proximate cause of the casualty was a loss of well control resulting from:
The above factors contributed to the substantial release of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons, which culminated in explosions, fire, the loss of 11 lives, the eventual sinking and total loss of the DEEPWATER HORIZON, and the release of hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico.
NON-CAUSAL FACTOR CONCLUSIONS
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Additional findings, conclusions, and recommendations are contained in the body of the report.
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