Deepwater Horizon Investigation – “Highest level of effort”

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May 142010


A briefing on the US Coast Guard investigation into the Deepwater Horizon tragedy

On April 27, under authority provided by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and in accordance with a pre-existing Memorandum of Agreement, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior directed the U.S. Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service to conduct a joint investigation into the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Deepwater Horizon incident that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. The incident resulted in the loss of 11 lives, the burning and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, and the ongoing discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico eco-system.

The Coast Guard has classified its investigative efforts as a Marine Board of Investigation, the highest level of investigative effort following a maritime casualty. These investigations are intended to determine the cause of the casualty to the fullest extent possible, promote safety of life and property at sea, and obtain information for the purpose of preventing or reducing the effects of similar casualties in the future. If the investigation reveals criminal misconduct on the part of any involved parties, then the Coast Guard will determine if the matter should be referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.

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