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Crew Error Blamed for Drilling Rig Blowout

In July 2013, a drilling rig owned by Hercules Offshore and under contract to Walter Oil and Gas Corporation suffered a blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Hercules 265 Rig was working on a sidetrack well when the blowout occurred. The natural gas well initially leaked gas and then caught fire and ignited the rig, which burned for 72 hours. The rig was 55 miles offshore when the explosion happened., and there were 44 people on board at the time, all of whom were safely evacuated with only minor injuries.

After the blowout happened, it was not clear exactly what caused it. Early reports indicated that it was too early to tell if a blowout preventer malfunction, like that experienced by the Deepwater Horizon, played any part in the incident.

Now, over two years later, a federal investigative report has concluded that there was indeed a blowout preventer malfunction but that the crew should be held responsible for the blowout (and the loss of the $60 million rig).

Report Cites Crew Error for Drilling Rig Blowout

According to the report, the blowout preventer failed to close properly but the problems could have been avoided if the crew had reacted quicker. The Walter and Hercules employees should have recognized the kick in the gas well and tripped the blowout preventer earlier. Because of the delay, the valves and seals of the blowout preventer had already been badly damaged by the flow of high pressure gas.

In addition to the delay in responding, the crew further contributed to the damage to the well by reducing the density of the fluid used to control the blowout.

This simply shows another example of preventable offshore accidents. The only positives that can be taken away from this are the fact that there were only minor injuries reported and minimal environmental impacts.

Call a New Orleans Maritime Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an offshore or maritime accident (such as a boat accident, rig accident, or platform accident), The Mahone Firm is here to help. Call (504) 564-7342 to discuss your potential case with a personal injury attorney today.

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