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Deepwater Horizon Alarm was Disabled

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Mike Williams, who worked for rig owner Transocean Ltd., said a three-way alarm system to warn of fire, explosive gas and toxic gas was turned on to monitor conditions, but its sound and light alarms had been disabled.

He testified he knew the alarm settings from a computer monitor into which it fed. He said in 2009 he asked about the settings and was told the company “didn’t want people looking up at 3 a.m. to a false alarm.”

Williams said that if the system had been fully operational, an alarm likely would have sounded before the explosion, which happened late on the night of April 20.

Williams testified he had no warning of the blast before it occurred.

The rig’s drilling room also had chronic computer problems, including one computer that carried the nickname “the blue screen of death,” he said

Williams said the computer had a 1990s operating system and was subject to periodic failure.

Williams also said the Deepwater Horizon was to be sent to a shipyard for extensive repairs. He said he was told the rig would be there for an extended time because “it was in very bad shape.”


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