In Statement, CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso Applauds Appeals Court Ruling Requiring Transocean to Turn Over Subpoenaed Documents in Agency Investigation of Macondo Accident in Gulf of Mexico

July 24, 2013


Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana, refused to grant Transocean Deepwater Drilling, Inc., owner of the Deepwater Horizon, a stay of a recent federal district court order that the company promptly turn over documents that the CSB has subpoenaed in the course of our investigation into the April 2010 explosion at the Macondo drilling facility in the Gulf of Mexico.  These documents are important for establishing facts that no other agency has investigated in detail, such as the role of human and organizational factors in the tragedy that took eleven workers' lives.

I applaud the decision which will now enable us to move this important investigation forward.  Today’s news of a blowout and fire at a gas well platform in the Gulf only underscores the ongoing hazards faced by offshore workers, and the need to ensure that the worldwide energy industry has the fullest possible understanding of the causes of the 2010 disaster.

In its ruling, the appeals court stated: “The injury that a stay would work upon the government and the public is clear. As we have discussed, the CSB is authorized to investigate accidental releases of hazardous substances and make recommendations to prevent future releases...Delaying the subpoenaed documents’ release would impede the accomplishment of this mission, which is of unquestionable significance to workplace and public safety. The injury to the public is compounded by the great amount of time it has taken to secure enforcement of the CSB’s subpoenas. Transocean has resisted the subpoenas for thirty-one months, of which twenty-one were consumed by litigation.”  And it went on to say, “Transocean has utterly failed to justify making the government and the public wait any longer for the CSB’s investigative report and safety recommendations.”

I believe it is past high time for Transocean to cooperate fully and openly with CSB investigators, turn over all the subpoenaed documents, and comply with other information requests that we have made.  Every other company involved in this tragic accident has cooperated with the CSB investigation.  Transocean must now play its part to ensure that a similar tragedy does not occur again, and accordingly I expect Transocean’s full cooperation going forward.

I would also like to recognize the dedicated effort of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Texas for their dogged pursuit of justice in this matter.


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