Passing Blame


Several months ago I thought we had exhausted the opportunities to make jokes of the BP acronym.  Apparently not.  Now BP themselves have upped the ante: BP stands for Blame Passing.

On the eve of the anniversary of the Macondo oil disaster, BP sued Transocean, seeking at least $40 billion in damages and other costs from the owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Not content to Blame Pass once BP also sued Cameron International Corp for negligence, saying a blowout preventer made by Cameron failed to avert the catastrophe – this despite the fact that the blowout preventer they knew was on the seven-year old structure was only a single-blade unit, not the current double-blade needed to cut pipe for such deepwater efforts.  If your suit suggests you (BP) did know the single-blade was insufficient that causes one to ask the question:  At what point over 5,000 feet did you not know you were in over your heads?

Both suits were filed yesterday in U.S. federal court, in New Orleans Louisiana.

The timing of the suits seem as equally insensitive as the recent bonuses paid by Transocean to their top brass; on the anniversary marking also the death of 11 men when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded.

Granted BP has incurred tens of billions of dollars of liabilities from the disaster and would like to recoup a buck or two of that accusing Transocean of negligence, saying it caused the drilling rig to be “unseaworthy”.  A year on the blame game appears to be kicking into a new gear.

“The simple fact is that on April 20th, 2010, every single safety system and device and well control procedure on the Deepwater Horizon failed, resulting in the casualty,” BP said.

I spent much of yesterday on the water in Barataria Bay – one of the places worst hit by the incoming oil in Louisiana.  The BP media circus I had left behind last September was back in force, including U.S. Coast Guard.  One site we visited was swarming with over two-dozen BP contractors (plus the USCG) when only a couple of weeks ago the same site was quietly cleaning marsh with five souls.  Does BP simply not get it?  We can see through the charade.

BP perhaps study history and public relations. Remember Tylenol 1982? The media applauded Johnson & Johnson with positive coverage for its handling of the crisis; in the Washington Post said, “Johnson & Johnson has effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster.” The article went on to say, “this is no Three Mile Island accident in which the company’s response did more damage than the original incident,”  In addition to issuing the recall, Johnson & Johnson established relations with the Chicago PD, the FBI, and the FDA.  Yes, they worked WITH local officials.

Get that BP?  “effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster.”  

God only knows J&J had a major nightmare on their hands – but instead of acting like a manipulative mega-corporation leading with their legal team instead of using common sense and human decency – they chose to change the industry, become a leader, define the future.

Yesterday in Barataria Bay and in federal court in New Orleans you once again define arrogance, greed, and stupidity by Blame Passing.

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