Deepwater Horizon survivors: "Are you fckng happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!"

Mother Jones continues its excellent coverage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and its aftermath with a piece by Josh Harkinson about eyewitness accounts from workers who were there when the rig blew up:
burning-rig300x200.jpgA prominent Houston attorney with a long record of winning settlements from oil companies says he has new evidence suggesting that the Deepwater Horizon's top managers knew of problems with the rig before it exploded last month, causing the worst oil spill in US history. Tony Buzbee, a lawyer representing 15 rig workers and dozens of shrimpers, seafood restaurants, and dock workers, says he has obtained a three-page signed statement from a crew member on the boat that rescued the burning rig's workers. The sailor, who Buzbee refuses to name for fear of costing him his job, was on the ship's bridge when Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, "Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen."

Whoever was on the other end of the line was apparently trying to calm Harrell down. "I am fucking calm," he went on, according to Buzbee. "You realize the rig is burning?"

At that point, the boat's captain asked Harrell to leave the bridge. It wasn't clear whether Harrell had been talking to Transocean, BP, or someone else.

"The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!"

(Image: US Coast Guard/, via Mother Jones)


  1. Somewhat off topic, but I’m curious as to why you would censor the word fucking in the title but not in the document?

    1. Some of the larger entities like Google and Yahoo that syndicate or move new audiences to our blog posts choke on headlines that contain cussin’. We could say, fuck it you fucking fuckers, and include all the fucking swear words in the fucking headlines that we fucking want, but I prefer to say, fuck that.

      1. Cursing – a dying art.
        That’s not fucking cursing, this is fucking cursing:
        (at nameless, *-less BP executive:)
        “By hammer-heads and hatchet-heads and the howling harlots of HELL, you are lower than a snakes **** SIR[1], a scum-sucking PUS-BAG, an anal CARBUNCLE, a loathsome hairy-knuckled spawn of a naked-mole-rat’s syphilis-infected unsanitary nappery, a whoreson git with a rotting cabbage maggot-odor, by god, sir, if Lovecraft had an elder-god who looked like you, he’d shave it’s ass and make it walk backwards, you koufala[2]-mouthed camel-raping tube-worm.

        [1]With credit to Robert Anton Wilson and apologies to George Washington. Or vice-versa.

        [2]A useful Demotic Greek word meaning “gaping ****”

  2. Since the defendant happens to be a well funded organization it’s hard to restrain skepticism at the real motives behind this lawsuit. Nuke the lawyers.

    1. Hear, hear! All those frivolous claims by lazy good-for-nothing victims of horrific ecosystem-destroying disasters are destroying this country! (Well, the parts that the oil spill didn’t destroy, anyway.) How DARE they seek legal representation just because their entire lives have been irrevocably changed for generations to come! Damn lawyers.

    2. Indeed. Innocent until proven poor, and in the US if you’re poor you’re guilty until proven innocent. Exxxxcellent.

      1. and in the US if you’re poor you’re guilty until proven innocent

        That explains my guilt complex. ;-)

  3. I don’t just want billions in reparations for the people whose world and livelihoods were ruined (although I want that too) I want ARRESTS.
    Everyone who signed off on the safety and repair reports that knew the information was false need HARD PRISON TIME to give teeth to the idea that if you sign a legal safety document, it’s YOUR a** that’s going to prison. What’s a slap in the wrist and a corporate fine to a guy who’s pressured to sign off on a false report? The worst he’ll get is fired (and in his mind that’s more likely to happen immediately due to his corrupt superiors firing him if he DOESN’T sign the report when it’s in front of him the first time).

    1. I want arrests too… followed by trials, convictions, and then public executions. And then oil soaked birds flinging oil soaked stones at the oil soaked bodies.

      I wonder how many BP employees it takes to stuff a bleeding oil well?

  4. Thanks for your continuing coverage. I’ve grown increasingly bored by the rest of the Internet seeing how much funny they can glean from this catastrophe.

  5. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but a statement from an anonymous guy, who says he overheard one side of a phone call from another guy, talking to a third guy (who could have been anyone), keeping in mind that the guy he supposedly heard talking on the phone was under extreme stress in an emergency situation, is hardly a smoking gun. If we are going to see charges that stick, and brought against those who are provably responsible for this disaster, then physical evidence (and probably a whole train of whistle blowers) is going to be necessary. I just hope there are enough people who choose what is right over a paycheck both at BP and the regulatory agencies that we eventually have a better idea what happened….not only so we can prosecute those who are directly, personally responsible, but more importantly, so we can prevent future accidents like this.

    1. Even the excerpt above includes the information that there is “a three-page signed statement.” It’s by definition difficult to have an “anonymous” statement be a signed statement. The linked article also says that the statement was corroborated by another eye witness and that Douglas Brown, the chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon testified under oath that there was a disagreement between Buzbee and BP’s managers. Transocean’s chief electronics technician also stated there was a disagreement, but different on who the disagreement was with.

      At this point, I think it’s clear that Buzbee was not happy with how BP wanted the rig to be run, that he allowed the substandard work to continue despite serious misgivings, and that BP was aware of the misgivings but made the work continue despite them. Buzbee testified that he did not have an argument with BP, but he’s probably covering his ass at this point.

      I’m sure physical evidence will be found. The only hope is that it’s sooner rather than later and that the evidence is put to good use to prevent this sort of thing from recurring.

  6. This whole thing will end up being a badly written James Bond movie. So who’s going play Bond Girl?

  7. Why does everyone continue to call this unmitigated disaster a ‘spill’? That lends itself to images of tea spilling from a cup.

    The Exxon Valdez was a spill, Deepwater Horizon is a fucking gusher.

    1. “Big fucking hole spouting oil from the bottom of the ocean” takes too long to say.

  8. At least BP are actually taking the rap for this..

    All the people who are calling for BP’s board to go straight to jail for ever, for consistency’s sake would you please write to your congresspersons to push for the extradition of Warren Anderson to India? As former head of Union Carbide he has 15000 dead people at Bhopal that he has never had to answer for.

    1. Not a single BP employee (or, to be precise, member of management) has taken the rap for anything. That’s got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard a BP apologist say.

      But with the gusher expected to continue into the fall, I guess you could still be outdone. Fingers crossed!

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