Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Fatal oil rig blast in Gulf of Mexico caused by poorly trained Filipinos’

By

MANILA, Philippines—United States oil platform operator Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations has pointed to unsafe welding practices as the cause of the oil rig blast that killed three Filipino workers in the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 16 last year.

The company was citing a report from an “independent third party” investigation it had commissioned pending a federal probe.

A report released by ABSG Consulting said its contractor, Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS), had violated contract obligations when it allowed “poorly trained subcontractor workers” to undertake welding operations on the platform.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington D. C. withheld comment on the Black Elk report, saying that it would instead wait for the results of the official investigation by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Official investigation

“The embassy would like to wait for the release next month of the results of the official investigation conducted by the BSEE of the Department of the Interior in which the Filipino workers involved in the accident were given the opportunity to participate,” said the embassy in a statement.

“The embassy, however, takes note of the statement of Black Elk president John Hoffman reiterating his recognition of the reputation of Filipino offshore oil workers for competence and professionalism,” the post said.

US media reports on the Black Elk investigation results said the Houston-based firm’s consultant had found that subcontractor workers were welding an open pipe connected to tanks with highly flammable oil and vapors at the time of the blast.

It said GIS allowed welders of the Philippine-based DNR Offshore and Crewing Services, which deployed the Filipino workers, to do sensitive work even as it was bound by contract not to use subcontractors for the job.

Absolved of liability

The commissioned report released on Aug. 21 virtually absolved Black Elk of any liability in the blast.

Filipino workers Jerome Malagapo, 28, Avelino Tajonera, 48, and Elroy Corporal, 42, were killed in the blast while two others were injured, including pipefitter Renato Dominguez and a colleague whose name was withheld on the family’s request.

Responding to the privately contracted investigation, contractor GIS pointed out that the probe was outside the formal federal investigation and that consultants were “selected, hired, paid and directed” by Black Elk.

Inaccuracies and hearsay

“There are several inaccuracies and hearsay included in this report which GIS will refute once we have had an opportunity to review in detail the entire 400-page report,” read the GIS statement.

The contractor also underscored how the commissioned probe excluded GIS and its subcontract personnel, saying they “have never been interviewed directly by this firm to discuss the first-hand accounts of the incident.”

The Philippine Embassy vowed to continue providing assistance to the affected workers and “to take all actions to ensure that their rights are fully protected and their claims properly addressed.”


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Black Elk , Black Elk Enegy Offshoe Opeations , Gulf of Mexico



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Heard on Radyo Inquirer 990AM
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace