US federal prosecutors have dropped manslaughter charges against two BP supervisors who were in charge of safety on the Macondo well during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion when 11 people died.
When the incident took place on 20 April 2010, BP’s well site managers Donald Vidrine, 68, and Robert Kaluza, 65, were on-board the Deepwater Horizon rig.
As well as killing 11 people, the explosion also released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Kaluza and Vidrine were among four BP workers were facing charges following the oil spill incident and were each charged with 11 counts of involuntary manslaughter, in addition to one count of violating the US Clean Water Act.
US Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said that Donald Vidrine pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. The pleas were accepted by US District Court judge Stanwood Duval.
However, Carr said that the department decided that it can no longer meet the legal standard for instituting the manslaughter charges after carrying out a review.
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Kaluza and Vidrine each were charged with 11 felony counts of seaman’s manslaughter, 11 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and one violation of the Clean Water Act.
In July 2015, BP’s US upstream subsidiary BP Exploration and Production (BPXP) agreed to pay $18.7bn to settle the claims from the oil disaster.
The company carried out the agreements with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and five Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Image: Dark clouds of smoke and fire emerge as oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico on 6 May 2010. Photo: courtesy of petty officer 2nd class Justin Stumberg.