April 27, 2010
Departments agree ground rules for Deepwater Horizon investigation
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today signed an order establishing the next steps for a joint investigation that is underway into the causes of the explosion of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Minerals Management Service (MMS) share jurisdiction for the investigation.
The MMS is responsible for investigating incidents related to systems associated with exploration, drilling, completion, work over, production, pipeline, and decommissioning operations for hydrocarbons and other minerals on the Outer Continental Shelf.
The USCG investigates maritime industry deaths, injuries, property loss, and environmental damage to determine the causes of accidents. The Coast Guard also investigates merchant mariner negligence or misconduct and possible criminal and civil offenses; and analyzes trends and risks in the maritime industries.
The joint investigation, which began on April 21, will proceed under a Joint Statement of Principles and Convening Order which convenes the formal joint investigation, and a Memorandum of Agreement that lays out roles and responsibilities that relate to each agency's area of expertise. The joint investigation will have the power to issue subpoenas, hold public hearings, call witnesses, and take other steps that may be needed to determine the cause of the incident.
The Marshall Islands -- the flag-state of Deepwater Horizon -- requested that it participate in the investigation and has been named a Party with Interest.