Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Board Concludes 1st Day of Hearings

KENNER, La. – The Deepwater Horizon joint investigation board held Tuesday concluded the first day of hearings into the circumstances surrounding the explosion, fire, pollution and sinking of the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Deepwater Horizon, with multiple loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.

The joint investigation has the powers of both convening agencies, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Minerals and Management Service (MMS), and is co-chaired and staffed by representatives of both agencies. For the public hearing, the joint investigation is following the policies and procedures for a U.S Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation contained in 46 Code of Federal Regulations Part 4 and USCG policy (available on the joint investigation Web site: ). The facts collected at this hearing, along with the lead investigators’ conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to Coast Guard Headquarters and MMS for approval. Once approved, the final investigative report will be made available to the public and the media. No analysis or conclusions will be presented during the hearing.

The hearings began Tuesday at 8 a.m. Witnesses were sworn in and there were two sessions, with the morning session concluding at 11:30 a.m. and the afternoon session re-convening at 12:45 p.m. Testimony was given by seven witnesses, with testimony ending at 4:35 p.m.

The witnesses Tuesday were:

  • Kevin Robb, Eighth Coast Guard District command center search and rescue coordinator
  • Capt. Alwin Landry, master of the motor vessel Damon B. Bankston
  • Anthony Gervaso, engineer from the Damon B. Bankston
  • Paul Erickson, chief mate from the Damon B. Bankston
  • Frank Patton, Drilling Engineer, MMS New Orleans District
  • Eric Neal, inspector from MMS
  • Bob Neal, inspector from MMS

Wednesday’s public hearing is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at the Radisson New Orleans Airport, 2150 Veterans Blvd., Kenner, La. in the Bayou meeting room.

Wednesday’s witnesses are scheduled to be:

  • Michael Saucier, MMS Gulf of Mexico Region
  • Capt. Vern Gifford, Eighth Coast Guard District prevention division
  • Lt. Cmdr. Michael Odom, Technical advisor for the Coast Guard Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise
  • Lt. Barbara Wilk – Investigating Officer, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City
  • Mr. Brian Bubar – Deputy Commissioner Maritime Affairs, Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Capt. Thomas Heinan – Deputy Commissioner Maritime Affairs, Republic of Marshall Islands

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