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 its oil rigs.
While Transocean is being held partially responsible for the deaths of the workers and the oil spill, the government blames the company's partner, BP, for the majority of the 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 the National 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 Injury Lawyers, to get your rightful compensation.