18 Jun 2010

Marshall Island official dismisses responsibility claim for Gulf spill

2:36 pm on 18 June 2010

A senior Maritime Affairs official in the Marshall Islands says the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico met the safety standards and was inspected regularly.

It has been suggested the Marshalls should be held responsible for the explosion, which killed 11 people and flooded the open sea with crude oil, because the rig was registered in the Marshalls.

A senior deputy commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Bill Gallagher, says the Marshalls is part of the investigation but the rig was owned by Transocean.

He says the rig was inspected regularly by both the United States Coastguard and Maritime Affairs and other agencies, and met international safety standards.

"The flag state has a responsibility to do inspections also, which we do. But irrespective of what flag you have, if you're operating under the US outer continental shelf, you are going to be regulated by the United States, the coastal states. And that's actually an international MODUS code."

Bill Gallagher says Maritime Affairs officials will have a third of four meetings with investigators in Louisiana next month.