An oil rig explosion in 2012 has Black Elk Energy facing criminal charges now. The Houston company is facing charges of negligence, and though criminal charges are rarely pursued in these incidents, the federal court is making an exception.
What Did Black Elk Energy Do?
Black Elk Energy had hired several contractors to oversee a section of a three platform rig just 20 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Some of these contractors were new to this type of work and were unfamiliar with the safety measures that must be taken while working on a rig. Federal prosecutors claim that these contractors weren’t properly overseen, and several safety procedures were not followed as a result. They also claim that work was not stopped on a wet oil tank when spillage was detected, and that welding on said tank ignited vapors that caused an explosion.
Was Anyone Hurt?
Three oil tanks were destroyed, which spilled approximately 480 barrels of oil and contaminants into the Gulf of Mexico. Oil rained down onto lower decks, injuring several workers, and three Filipino men were killed in the destruction. Several of those workers have now filed lawsuits, which have been consolidated and will be heard next June.
Now, as stories of knowing and willful violations of safety regulations emerge, Black Elk Energy executives have scattered. Many no longer work for the firm, and the company has sold off many off its assets in the Gulf of Mexico.
The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have represented many victims of oil rig accidents, and have experience working in the oil industry. We know what oil companies are capable of when they put profits ahead of employee safety, so keep following our blog, Twitter, and Facebook to stay informed of your rights.
Galloway Jefcoat LLP—Personal Injury Attorneys in Lafayette, LA