Coast Guard, MMS to Launch Investigation

Beginning on Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) will co-chair an investigation to identify the factors leading to the explosion, loss of life, sinking, and subsequent oil spill of the Deepwater Horizon.

MMS and the Coast Guard will convene a public hearing for the joint investigation May 11-12, 2010, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2829 Williams Blvd., Kenner, La. A list of witnesses and additional information can be found on the Deepwater Investigation Web site:

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen, MMS Director S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed an order convening the joint USGS-MMS investigation. According to a statement released by federal officials, the joint investigation is classified as a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation as defined with Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4.09 and a panel investigation as defined within Title 30, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 250.101.

David Dykes of MMS and Coast Guard Captain Hung Nguyen will co-chair the joint investigation; their respective agencies share jurisdiction for the investigation of casualties occurring on the Outer Continental Shelf. Memoranda of agreement between the agencies establish the roles and responsibilities related to each agency's areas of expertise.

The joint investigation team will issue a single report to the MMS Director and the Coast Guard Commandant once they complete the probe. The report, which will be submitted simultaneously to both agencies, will contain the evidence brought forward, facts established, and conclusions and recommendations. The Commandant of the Coast Guard and the MMS Director will jointly sign and release the final report.