Oil Rig's Emergency Alarm Not Used

The government panel investigating the April 20 BP disaster has learned that the emergency alarm on the Deepwater Horizon rig was not even turned on at the time of the accident. A worker from the rig told the panel Friday that the alarm was always set to “inhibited” so as not to wake the crew. Mike Williams said, “They did not want people woke up at 3 a.m. from false alarms.” A number of failures on the rig have come to light during the investigation, including computer crashes, power outages and the discovery that a system for removing dangerous gas was switched to “bypass mode.” When that decision was questioned by Williams at the time, he was told, “The damn thing’s been in bypass for five years. The entire fleet runs them in ‘bypass.’” A widow of one of the workers killed in the April 20 explosion told the panel: “From day one, he deemed this the well from hell. He said Mother Nature just didn’t want to be drilled here.”