Final BP defendant in Deepwater Horizon case is cleared

The final individual defendant from BP in the Deepwater Horizon disaster was cleared by a jury in New Orleans on Friday.

Robert Kaluza, a supervisor at the Gulf of Mexico rig that exploded causing 11 deaths and multiple millions of barrels of oil spilled, was facing charges of negligence under the Clean Water Act.

Kaluza was accused of ignoring danger signs of a negative pressure test before the rig blew.

He and fellow supervisor Donald Vidrine had previously seen manslaughter charges against them dropped. Vidrine pled guilty to negligence charges whereas Kaluza went to trial. Vidrine still faces sentencing in April.

Kaluza’s defence lawyer argued that Kaluza was only filling in, was not on duty at the time of the event and deferred to the more experienced Vidrine. It was also argued that the principle cause of the explosion was a poorly maintained blowout preventer device.

The trial lasted little over a week, having commenced on February 17.

The aftermath of the April 2010 rig explosion saw crude spill unchecked from the uncapped well for almost three months.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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