On the wake of 20th April 2010, the deepwater oil rig of the coasts of the Venice exploded and caused a huge fire. In what could later be termed as the BP Crisis of 2010, about eleven of the workers who were at the plant at were burnt to death. In addition to the death cases, the explosion led to flow over 4.9 million barrels into the sea for three months. Upon expansion, the spill expanded to cover an area of over 70,000 square miles of the sea surface. The BP crisis has been considered as one of if not the largest spillage to ever been recorded in the history of petroleum industry globally. In response to the disaster that was not only fatal to human life, but also to the aquatic life, over 50,000 persons including volunteers were deployed to do a mass cleanup on the affected sea surface. Consequently, the response also brought along a number adverse effects to the workers on the ground; fatigue, exposure to sharp objects, electrical shocks, suffocation and extreme heat among others(Kurtz 360).
Role of Administrative Agencies
When the spillage was reported and deemed a national disaster, a number of agencies and bodies came in as actors and in mitigating the effects of the spillage. Starting with the home government, a number of government agencies were brought overboard to chip in their efforts. The Occupational Safety & Health Agency (OSHA) was the first federal body to form the coordinating team in response to the spillage. OSHA acted by following up and ensuring that the workers were given the maximum level of protection and training that they needed. To achieve this, the OSHA conducted a number of activities: advocating for integration of the staff into the oil spill command team; performing of detailed assessment of the hazards in the spillage; conducted numerous and frequent site visits to assess any risk and non-compliance and; ensuring that the workers were fully aware of their rights among others(Kurtz 362). In addition to the OSHA, Obama also formed a team to look into and draft a report on the cause and impact of the British Disaster.
Legal Aspects of the Deepwater spill
The Deepwater well that was causing the spillage at the Gulf of Mexico was successfully capped in 15th July of 2010, after numerous unsuccessful attempts. It was after the capping that the lawsuits started taking effect. In all the courts all over the United States, roughly 3000 cases that involved about 100000 claimants were filed on the disaster. The suits addressed an array of claims for a personal injury caused by the explosion, deaths, post incident injuries, damage to resources and property, economic losses among others(Kurtz 367). In 10th of August, 2010, the US Judicial Panel transferred most of the federal cases to Multidistrict Litigation. As a result, the Litigation restructured the cases into the United States v the BP Co. the cases are still under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Act, section 9(h). The BP spillage could be regarded as a tort due to a number of reasons. It is said the BP workers would have prevented the explosion from occurring had they always watched the CCTV camera and the videos (Kurtz 372). On that fateful night, it's reported that the explosion occurred since the system monitors were not so attentive to their duty. A live video feed revealed that a crack on one of the valves had been detected earlier, but no action was taken to this effect. Therefore, it is quite clear that the BP explosion disaster could have been averted successfully.
The Deepwater Horizon spill has turned to be one of the greatest image breakers to the British Petroleum Company, with every finger now being printed on them for failing to prevent what was considered preventable. The implication of the disaster on the reputation of the company extended into courts where the company was accused of Mens Rea, Actus Rea among other offences. As much as a number of the agencies were brought on board to mitigate the effect of the spillage, the effects still live with us so long as related cases are still in the courts.
Kurtz, Rick S. "Oil Spill Causation and the Deepwater Horizon Spill." Review of Policy Research 30.4 (2013): 366-80.