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04/11/2013: STATEMENT ON THE INVESTIGATION REPORT ON THE 2012 OIL PLATFORM ACCIDENT THAT KILLED 3 FILIPINO OIL WORKERS

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-101-2013
04 November 2013

This morning, Director Brian M. Salerno of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the United States Department of the Interior presented the results of their almost year-long investigation into the explosion and fire that took place on 16 November 2012 at Platform E, West Delta Block 32 in the Gulf of Mexico that was being operated by Black Elk Energy.

The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines welcomes the release of the BSEE report that concluded that the deaths of three Filipino workers and the serious injuries sustained by three other Filipino workers were the result of a series of failures on the part of Black Elk Energy and its contractors to create a culture of safety in the work environment.

We are greatly relieved to learn from the official BSEE investigation report that the Filipino workers were not responsible for the tragedy, contrary to earlier assertions made by Black Elk Energy President John Hoffman who had wrongfully attributed the accident to our workers.

It had always been our position that our workers could not have been responsible for the accident and that they were actually the victims of a terrible accident that could have been prevented had Black Elk and its contractors strictly followed the required safety procedures.

While the release of the findings took longer than expected, we commend the BSEE for conducting an impartial and thorough investigation. We also acknowledge the efforts of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago and the Philippines Overseas Labor Office here in Washington, D.C. in coordinating with concerned US government agencies and for looking after the families of the affected workers.

We look forward to continue working with the BSEE and other US government agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor, in their efforts to create a safer working environment for all offshore oil workers, including Filipinos working in the Gulf of Mexico and other parts of the United States.

JOSE L. CUISIA, JR.
Ambassador