Doug / 08-30-2013 / Dangerous

Litigation Over BP Oil Spill Continues


The BP oil spill, considered to be “the worstoil spill in the history of the petroleum industry,” began on April 20, 2010 at the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, operated by BP, which they leased from Transocean.  It wasn’t until July 15, 2010 that the rig was successfully capped, after the lives of 11 workers were claimed, and an estimated 5 million gallons of crude oil polluted the Gulf of Mexico.  According to BP, as of July 31, 2013, it has paid over $12 billion in damages and claims as a result, and continues to litigate over civil fines.  Transocean agreed to pay $1.4 billion as settlement in its federal claim in violating the U.S. Clean Water Act.  (Bloomberg).

The U.S. Court of Appeals has now withdrawn its decision finding that BP may access Transocean’s $750 million insurance coverage for the 2010 spill.  In March, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the U.S. District Court, which prevented BP from being entitled to such coverage.  U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled that the contract between BP and Transocean barred BP from accessing any coverage under Transocean’s pollution-related liabilities policies.  The court has given its reasoning for such interpretation by stating, “The facts here indicate insurers were not involved in drafting the drilling contract, and thus construing ambiguities in that contract against them might be inappropriate.” (Bloomberg).

In related news, blobs of tar have been washing up on the shores of local beaches, specifically in the Southern Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach areas, according to the United States Coast Guard Port Canaveral office.  The Department of Environmental Protection, along with local crewmembers, have thus far removed 50 pounds of tar.  With the holiday weekend approaching, it is important to be cautious when frequenting these beaches.  Officials warn beachgoers against touching these substances, which can be up to 1/4” to 4” in diameter.  (Orlando Sentinel).

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