DOJ Charges Three Individuals, Firms For Fatal 2012 Offshore Platform Accident
Three firms and three individuals were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday for their involvement in the fatal 2012 West Delta 32 platform accident in the Gulf of Mexico.
The DOJ has charged Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations and Grand Isle Shipyards with three counts of involuntary manslaughter, eight counts of failing to follow proper safety practices under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and one count of violating the Clean Water Act.
Wood Group PSN, Don Moss, 46 of Texas, Curtis Dantin, 50 of Louisiana, and Christopher Srubar, 40 of Louisiana, were each charged with felony violations of OCSLA and the Clean Water Act.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and federal regulations govern welding and activities that generate heat or sparks, known as “hot work,” on oil production platforms in U.S. waters.
According to the indictment, the defendants were involved in different capacities while construction work was being done of the West Delta 32 platform when it caught fire in November 2012.
The accident killed three workers, injured several others and caused three oil tanks to separate at their bases and release their contents onto the platform.
The spill also created an oil sheen measuring about one half-mile by 200 yards in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the discharge of some of the hydrocarbons in each of the tanks that were blown off of the platform.
A 2013 report by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement identified a number of safety failures preceding the accident including no hazard identification, conducting “hot work” without taking required safety precautions, failure to isolate hydrocarbons inside an oil tank, ineffective communication among contractors and a climate where workers feared retaliation if they raised safety concerns.