Deepwater Joint Investigation Concludes 4th Day

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon joint investigation concluded the fourth day of the fourth session of hearings August 26 into the circumstances surrounding the explosion, fire, pollution and sinking of the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Deepwater Horizon, with multiple loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.

The joint investigation has the powers of both convening agencies, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), and is co-chaired and staffed by representatives of both agencies. For the public hearing, the joint investigation is following the policies and procedures for a U.S Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation contained in 46 Code of Federal Regulations Part 4 and USCG policy (available on the joint investigation Web site: 

The facts collected at this hearing, along with the lead investigators' conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to Coast Guard Headquarters and BOEM for approval. Once approved, the final investigative report will be made available to the public and the media. No analysis or conclusions will be presented during the hearing.

The joint investigation is conducting the hearings in sessions.  Session one was held May 11-12, 2010, and investigated the circumstances surrounding the fire, explosion, pollution and sinking of the MODU.  The second session was held May 26-29, 2010, with the focus on gathering information on the MODU's materiel condition, crew qualifications, emergency preparedness, and casualty timeline. The third session of hearings was held July 19-23, 2010, with the focus on the "how" and the "why" (which might also be considered the "technical verification" phase).

The fourth session of hearings began Monday and will continue through Friday.  As part of the fourth session, testimony Thursday began at 8 a.m. and continued until 8:15 p.m.  Testimony was given by three witnesses.

The witnesses Thursday were:  
1. Kent Wells, BP, senior vice president
2. David Sims, BP, drilling and completon operations manager
3. Pat O'Bryan, BP, vice president drilling and completions, Gulf of Mexico, Deepwater
Yancy Keplinger, a Transocean dynamic positioning officer, was scheduled to appear today.  However, due to time constraints and the duration of the day's testimonies, Keplinger did not testify but may be rescheduled for a future session.  
Updated witness lists will be posted on the joint investigation Web site: as changes are made.
Friday's public hearing is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Hobby Airport, 8181 Airport Blvd., Houston, Texas in the Moody Ballroom.  Friday's witnesses are scheduled to be:
1.  Brett Cocales, BP, drilling engineer
2. Mark Hafle, BP, drilling engineer
3. Merrick Kelley, BP, subsea engineer

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