WASHINGTON(Dow Jones Newswires), Apr. 1, 2011
Employees of Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded last April, are refusing to testify before federal officials investigating the causes of the explosion and subsequent oil spill.
The U.S. Interior Department, which is conducting a joint investigation with the Coast Guard, says it issued subpoenas to three Transocean employees two weeks ago to compel them to testify at a set of hearings.
The goal of the hearings, scheduled for next week, is to examine the design and performance of the blowout preventer, a key piece of equipment that is supposed to prevent oil spills.
The three employees have indicated they do not plan to attend the hearings, the Interior Department said. Department officials are now pressing Transocean Chief Executive Steven Newman to take steps to compel his workers to testify.
"This is unacceptable," Michael Bromwich, director of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said in a March 31 letter to Newman.
Responding to the letter, Transocean's attorney said two of the employees have hired individual lawyers and so their actions are "beyond Transocean's control."
Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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