Oil rig responsible for the loss of 11 lives and the worst oil spill in US history is a Flag of Convenience
US Congress, last week, heard that Deepwater Horizon's registration under the flag of convenience of the Marshall Islands was a factor in the nations worse oil spill disaster.
The Deepwater Horizon rig was owned by Transocean but under lease to BP when it exploded and sank on 20 April 64km off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 crew members and gushing an estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of crude oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Guardian: "Political ripples from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster have travelled as far as the north Pacific, where authorities of the remote Marshall Islands have been found to be the ones technically responsible for scrutinising safety standards on the doomed BP rig.
Questions have been raised in the US Congress about 34 of Transocean's oil rigs. At issue is whether the Marshall Islands shipping registry could be responsible for ensuring compliance with quality standards for construction, equipment and operation on the rig.
Jim Oberstar, a Democratic congressman from Minnesota, suggested last week that the move was to scrimp on safety inspections:
"Coastguard inspection of a US-flagged mobile offshore drilling unit takes two to three weeks, but the safety examination of a foreign flag offshore drilling unit, such as Deepwater Horizon, takes four to eight hours."
Judy Chu, a Democratic member of Congress, from California said Transocean was seeking 'to avoid safety regulations by flagging the vessel outside the US".
The International Transport Workers' Federation has long warned that flags of convenience are best known for being a way of avoiding taxes, paying cheap registration fees and enabling ship owners to exploit cheap labour.
Transocean has admitted to registering its rigs in the Marshall Islands in order to gain a "financial tax benefit" and to solve the solution for the existing logistical issues.
The Marshall Islands shipping registry is administered by a private firm, International Registries Inc.
According to the Daily Telegraph, BP revealed that "the accident disaster had cost it almost $US1 billion dollars, helping spark a near 17 per cent plunge in its shares after a failed operation to fix the leak".
US President Barack Obama has pledged that if US laws have been broken leading to this death and destruction, that his government will bring those responsible to justice.
The US Government has launched civil and criminal investigations into the oil spill.