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Deepwater Horizon alarms were switched off ‘to help workers sleep’

Deepwater Horizon alarms were switched off ‘to help workers sleep’

Ed Pilkington
London Guardian
July 24, 2010

Vital warning systems on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were switched off at the time of the explosion in order to spare workers being woken by false alarms, a federal investigation has heard.

The revelation that alarm systems on the rig at the centre of the disaster were disabled – and that key safety mechanisms had also consciously been switched off – came in testimony by a chief technician working for Transocean, the drilling company that owned the rig.

Mike Williams, who was in charge of maintaining the rig’s electronic systems, was giving evidence to the federal panel in New Orleans that is investigating the cause of the disaster on 20 April, which killed 11 people. Williams told the hearing today that no alarms went off on the day of the explosion because they had been “inhibited”.

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