AP IMPACT: Fed'l inspections on rig not as claimed
AP IMPACT: Fed'l inspections on rig not as claimed - Yahoo! News
The AP sought to find out how many times government safety inspectors visited the Deepwater Horizon, and what they found. In response, MMS officials offered a changing series of numbers. The MMS has had long-standing issues with its data management.
At first, officials said 83 inspections had been performed since the rig arrived in the Gulf 104 months ago, in September 2001. While being questioned about the once-per-month claim, the officials subsequently revised the total up to 88 inspections. The number of more recent inspections also changed — from 26 to 48 in the 64 months since January 2005.
No explanation was given for the upward revisions. AP granted the officials anonymity because without that condition, communications staff at the Interior Department, which oversees MMS, would not have let them talk.
Based on the last set of numbers provided, the Deepwater Horizon was inspected 40 times during its first 40 months in the Gulf — in line with agency policy for offshore drilling rigs.
Even using the more favorable numbers for the most recent 64 months, 25 percent of monthly inspections were not performed. The first set of data supplied to AP represented a 59 percent shortfall in the number of inspections.
Interior Department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff would not comment on the inspection numbers. Instead, she offered a general statement: "We are looking at all the questions that are coming out of the Deepwater Horizon incident."