January 29, 2014 | Mark Paradies

What Happened to the CSB investigation of the Macondo Blowout and Explosion (Deepwater Horizon Accident)?

Screen Shot 2014 01 29 at 2 08 34 PM(Picture from the CSB web site page on the Macondo Investigation. See: http://www.csb.gov/macondo-blowout-and-explosion/)

You might remember that on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon experienced a blowout, explosion, fire, and sank shortly thereafter.

You might also remember that several members of Congress asked the Chemical Safety Board to investigate the accident.

What you don’t remember is the investigation report.

Why? Because the report has not been published.

In 2012, the CSB announced that a draft report was imminent (due in July) and the final report would be published in 2013. 

It is now well into 2014 (closing in on two years later) and no draft report has been released.

If you were assigned to investigate an accident and almost four years later you hadn’t published a draft of your report, what would your management say?

Also, if a report is published four years after an accident, how much impact can it have? Hasn’t the industry moved on by the time the report is released?

Timeliness of investigations and findings are certainly issues that need discussion. 

Perhaps the CSB should adopt timeliness guidelines for investigations and reports. What would you suggest as the longest time that an investigation should be allowed to continue? Leave your comments here.

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Some of the comments have focussed on the delay caused by Transocean deciding to fight the jurisdiction of the CSB subpoenas, Therefore, I’ve attached the March 2013 decision. Note that the CSB knew about Transoceans’ decision to resist the subpoenas when they abounded that they would be releasing a preliminary report in 2012. 


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