April 30, 2010

Do They Suspect Sabotage?

Glenn Reynolds points out the odd behavior of law enforcement agencies in the growing Gulf oil spill disaster.

Mr. Obama said SWAT teams were being dispatched to the Gulf to investigate oil rigs and said his administration is now working to determine the cause of the disaster...


...Napolitano said the Homeland Security and Interior departments are conducting a joint investigation into what caused the explosion on the rig.

I understand that Homeland Security may have a valid role investigating the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, especially if there are concerns that it may not have been an obvious accident and that sabotage needs to be ruled out.

But unless SWAT means something in some other context than paramilitary special weapons and tactics teams, I'm not understanding why these units are being deployed to oil rigs, when to the best of my knowledge, that is both well outside their normal jurisdiction, and presumably, beyond the average SWAT team's skill set.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not bad-mouthing SWAT officers, but how many of them have the kind of background to investigate oil rigs? The logical use of such teams on a rig would be to provide security and deter criminal actions, right?

So why does the President think that oil rigs need SWAT teams instead of engineers?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 30, 2010 10:49 AM

The Obama Administration is ever and always trying to prove violent conspiracies against ordinary American civilians. The most comic pictures of the day today are of peaceful Tea Partiers in Quincy [sweet little old ladies in red 'tea shirts' and big smiles] being monitored as trouble makers by fully armed fully armored SWAT team members in the background, because Mr. Obama was making one of his interminable speeches in the neighborhood, and one of his staff of conspiracy fantasists had required the presence of said SWAT team 'to control the violence.' The SWAT team members look quite uncomfortable as they watch the TEA Partiers ambling along singing 'God Bless America.'

It's fascinating. You just can't make this stuff up.

Marianne Matthews

Posted by: Marianne Matthews at April 30, 2010 11:10 AM

I doubt if Obama knows what a swat team is, and the new spin is a swat team of investigators to look into the "accident".

Posted by: bman at April 30, 2010 11:35 AM

I wouldn't put this past environmentalist. It seems that this is happening allot lately in the energy industry that is targeted by this administration.

Posted by: dgj at April 30, 2010 11:36 AM

From an article I read

Blowout Preventers, or ‘BOP’s” as they’re
called, are controlled with redundant systems from the rig. In the event of a serious emergency, there are multiple Panic Buttons to hit,
and even fail-safe Deadman systems that should be automatically engaged when something of this proportion breaks out. None of them
were aparently activated, suggesting that the blowout was especially swift to escalate at the surface.

Posted by: dgj at April 30, 2010 11:48 AM

The cause of the blowout is easily explained. The rig was owned and operated by BPS. Look them up. They have one of the worst records of any company. One factor may be that they are run by the British government.

Posted by: David at April 30, 2010 12:12 PM

Didn't Hugo Chavez & Iran announce some joint exercises w/ revolutionary guard (qods) forces to happen in Venezuala a while back? Coincidence?

Posted by: gbb at April 30, 2010 12:30 PM

Obama juse dosnt want the investgation comeing back to him.after all if Bush was responable for the leaves in new orlines isnt it far to blame Obama for the oil spill?

Posted by: Rich at April 30, 2010 12:50 PM

David, the explanation must not be as simple as you since you missed the fact that the rig was owned by Transocean, a Swiss company.

Posted by: Boss429 at April 30, 2010 01:33 PM

Where did you find the info. The news I have seen says BPS. Regardless, ownership of the rig and who is working it can vary.

Posted by: David at April 30, 2010 02:52 PM

Transocean Ltd., which operated the rig on lease from BP, has said Halliburton Co. had finished cementing the 18,000-foot well shortly before the explosion. BP has said while it assumes responsibility for the incident, the company is still waiting for an investigation to show Transocean's role in the matter.

Posted by: dgj at April 30, 2010 03:21 PM

Thanks dgj,
In addition, the blow out preventer was from Cameron, which is out of Houston. Don't know anything about them, but suspect they are now close the end of their business cycle.

Posted by: David at April 30, 2010 03:25 PM

Insty had a follow up on this: apparently "swat team" was originally in quotes, and was meant to be synonymous with "rapid response team". The moron reporter apparently dropped the quotes.

Posted by: SDN at April 30, 2010 04:54 PM

I am guessing that officials have already interviewed crewmembers and decided that from the blow out preventer failure and what they were told, that the feds think there might be something else going on.

Better safe than sorry.

And oh wait. The price of gas this summer I think might go up, because of the hold put on drilling in the gulf now.

Something there to think about.

Posted by: Ron at April 30, 2010 06:21 PM

Just talked with some folks down in Houston. They sent down submarine robots to check on the BOP and tried to turn it via manual control. Couldnt get it to block in. They are trying to put what is essentially an inverted funnel over the top of the oil stream. This would force the oil up into a spout with a hose or pipe which could then be pumped up to the surface. And this is all being done in 5000 feet of water. The BOP sits on the ocean floor on top of the drill pipe and casing. That pipe and casing could be up to 30 inches across. The BOP is a large steel set flanges and valves that is designed to sense and start shutting down and prevent these situations. Usually automatic AND or manually operated. It also depends on how much of the riser pipe is still attached to the BOP on the bottom. It goes all the way up to where the platform sat on the surface, but has now sunk. So the 5000 feet of pipe could be wrapped in all kinds of knots on the bottom or semi sunk now. They need to work on the BOP I'm guessing. Otherwise they will have to drill in from the side and try to plug it.

Posted by: mrbill at April 30, 2010 09:01 PM

Oh, and where exactly would these "swat" folks go. There is no "there" there now. It sunk.

Posted by: mrbill at April 30, 2010 09:02 PM

Thanks SDN

I was doubting that it was really SWAT. Like most all deepwater drilling rigs, the Horizon was in international waters and SWAT has no jurisdiction.

Posted by: BigLou at April 30, 2010 09:26 PM

Mr. Bill

It may be merely rumor, but I heard that the riser is still attached and bent over from BOP to rig. Oil leaking from the rig end and another spot somewhere in the middle.

Posted by: BigLou at April 30, 2010 09:29 PM

Maybe their actually sending bomb experts to look for and defuse any they might find. If they suspect sabotage, that is.

Posted by: MikeM at April 30, 2010 10:03 PM

I meant "they're" not "their". (Shouldn't do this just before bed time.)

Posted by: MikeM at April 30, 2010 10:04 PM

I found a good link about the ROV attempts, with very knowledgeable comments posted on flickr.

It won't let me post the link, but do a search for the following and it should come up.

ROV attempting to activate Deepwater Horizon Blowout Preventer

Posted by: BigLou at April 30, 2010 10:08 PM

It may be this type of SWOT team. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Its a kind of quality and Root Cause Analysis type of thing.

Posted by: mrbill at April 30, 2010 10:20 PM

There are always two things to consider in most issues on the planet. #1 is: Who makes the money?
#2 is: Who stands to benefit the most? With this oil rig issue the money thing is rather complicated, but #2 is easy. They who benefit the most are your ANTI-BIG OIL & ANTI-OFF SHORE DRILLING. Thus, the Obama administration, environmental wacos and the anti drilling/capitalism crowd have a huge victory and "see I told you so" with the destruction of the rig and the huge oil spill and it's after effects. Pay attention to these two and don't let the President of Misdirection fool you - this event falls right in his far left lap!!!!

Posted by: mixitup at April 30, 2010 11:29 PM

I was reading this too, but seemed like there was missing information. Thus was thinking the same thing, is this terrorism. If so, why not admit it, unless it doesn't fit the narative of right wing terrorist, but from the left.

But who knows, could just be a tragic accident, and a government that is over reacting to it.

Posted by: Micheal at May 1, 2010 09:45 AM

I might add that SWAT is the name of a cleaning service.

Posted by: David at May 1, 2010 10:22 AM

Everyone knows progressives don't send "swat teams" to a catastrophe like this; you send attorneys and bureaucrats to shift the blame away from the inept governmental hierarchy.

Swat teams are a biopolitical force that are reserved for intimidating dissenters to State power, like middle class taxpayers, senior citizens, bloggers and other dangerous subversives subject to surveillance.

Posted by: Hatless Hessian at May 1, 2010 11:17 AM

I've got no particular reason to believe this isn't just an accident. But, I do have to admit that this would be an exceptionally profitable criminal or terrorist scheme.
Buy lots of puts on BP and their contractors' stocks.
Do the deed
Profit when the stock crashes in price (over 32 billion I believe in market cap has been lost so far).
So it's kind of hard to rule ANYTHING out, as a motive is really easy to supply.

Posted by: David at May 1, 2010 01:59 PM

Maybe I picked the wrong article to comment from. The rig is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd. They were drilling on a lease that BP has.

Like I said earlier, I wouldn't put this past environmentalist. While no proof is out there yet, I just have to wonder about the recent explosion of the coal mine in WV. Two industries attacked by this administration and it's base...

Posted by: dgj at May 1, 2010 02:38 PM

My first thought upon hearing the news? Sabotage. Obama makes his grand announcement "allowing" offshore drilling and we have a major oil rig explosion and spill. Enviornmental terrorists will stop at nothing to prove a point. Torching ski lifts, driving spikes into trees to injure and maim loggers, etc. To them, the end always justifies the means. They are a truely radical group and it wouldn't suprise me one bit if a connection is found.

Posted by: Pierre at May 1, 2010 04:14 PM

I read somewhere that the SWAT Teams are actually inspectors checking the oil riggs to ensure they have the right flow stoppage equipment.

Posted by: davod at May 1, 2010 05:14 PM

I'm not quite ready to jump on any sabotage/conspiracy bandwagons. But I do think it worth noting that Obama is perfectly willing to support some offshore drilling...

Let the dot connecting commence!

Posted by: ThomasD at May 1, 2010 05:19 PM

I heard that Obama once again misspoke. The "SWAT" he meant was inspectors to other rigs to make sure they are all screwed up.

That said, the system failed somewhere and it would not be outside the possibility that it had a little help. Maybe a little "nudge" from ELF?

Posted by: archer52 at May 1, 2010 07:12 PM

Dozens of years without a significant offshore platform incident or spill, and all of the sudden there's a problem within days of a policy announcement on offshore drilling?

No coincidence?

Sure, and I believe in the Easter Bunny too.

Posted by: Junk Science Skeptic at May 1, 2010 09:47 PM

Water doesn't melt steel.

Posted by: Pinandpuller at May 2, 2010 11:33 PM