Saturday, 31 July 2010

Deepwater Horizon: Medawar's Last Word

Now that it seems as if the "greatest ecological disaster in American history" was largely politically-motivated hype, see link, then one must return to Medawar's comment at the outset of the saga, which was that the real tragedy was the eleven men who died, and that it was amazing that American public and political opinion was outraged about something else.

And it has to be said, that actions by Transocean, particularly turning alarms off to keep things nice and quiet at night, and disabling automatic mechanisms that closed vents to stop explosive gases getting inside inhabited and control modules, will have contributed, hugely, to the death toll. And none of the lessons learned by British authorities from the Piper Alpha disaster, were paid any heed at all either by Transocean or by the American regulating authority, the MMS (see post below!)

And, yes, the governor of Mississippi was completely right to say that the political reaction to the "disaster" was doing more economic harm than the oil spill itself. And it's not just economic damage: the hype, hysteria and witch-hunting has completely degraded America's reputation in the United Kingdom and caused pure rage and fury in other countries where American firms have been the author of huge and genuine disasters, such as Bhopal, from which American culprits have walked, or run, away with the active assistance of the American government.

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