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Deepwater Horizon Alarm System Disabled Before Oil Rig Explosion


Michael Williams, chief electrician aboard the Deepwater Horizon, testified Friday at a federal hearing that one of the vessel’s critical alarm systems had been purposefully disabled before the oil rig explosion. The general alarm system about the Deepwater Horizon should have sounded an alarm warning offshore workers to move away from danger. However, the automatic system had been intentionally switched off because Transocean felt it was inconvenient. Turning off the automatic alarm required that the alarm had to be triggered manually if needed. Mr. Williams claims he told her Transocean superiors of his concerns about disabling the alarm.

Many of the workers who were injured in the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion have said they had no notice of a serious problem until well after the first of two explosions took place.

Mr. Williams’ information about the alarm being disabled is just another issue in a long list of safety concerns that have come out concerning how BP and Transocean ran the Deepwater Horizon. Reports have indicated that the rig’s emergency power failed to work, communications systems went down, the rig’s Emergency Disconnect System did not work, the blowout preventer was disabled and/or malfunctioned.

The maritime lawyers of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. believe that the alarm issue is extremely negative for Transocean as it defends itself from lawsuits filed by the families of the workers who lost their lives as well as by injured survivors. Our Jones Act attorneys are actively involved in both the Deepwater Horizon injury and death claims and the oil spill business claims. We have litigated maritime cases for over 45 years. For more information about either case type, please contact us at

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One response to “Deepwater Horizon Alarm System Disabled Before Oil Rig Explosion”

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