After many months of investigation, the Justice Department finally reached
a settlement with Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig that caused
a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Transocean rig began having
issues on April 20, 2010, showing dangerously high pressure readings in
its well. Despite these warning signs, crew members neglected to further
investigate the situation, leading to an explosion that killed eleven
workers and sent millions of gallons of crude oil out into the Gulf of
Mexico. The $1.4 billion dollar settlement dealt with criminal penalties
involving workers' deaths as well as civil penalties to compensate
for state violations. According to Congressional legislation, 80% of the
funds will be dedicated to environmental and economic recovery projects.
Transocean is also required to improve its safety requirements on their oil rigs.
While Transocean is being held partially responsible for deaths of the
workers and the oil spill, the government blames the company's partner,
BP, for the majority of wrongdoing,. BP has a separate settlement with
the Justice Department that is expected to total well over $4 billion,
a record penalty for environmental crimes. The London oil company has
already pleaded guilty to criminal charges surrounding the explosion,
including manslaughter. According to the Huffington Post, Professor David
Uhlmann expresses surprise that the companies do not face more criminal
penalties for workers' deaths.
The terrible incident has brought about many improvements in worker safety,
yet oil rigs accidents still frequently occur. According to theNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the increased drilling activity over the past 10 years has produced an
increased number of worker fatalities and injuries. As the number of oil
rigs continues to grow, so does the number of
oil field accidents. If you have been injured in one such accident, contact a Shreveport personal
injury lawyer at
Morris, Dewett & Savoie, LLC, to get your rightful compensation.