NEW ORLEANS – The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and US Coast Guard are continuing the investigation into the Oct. 20 death of Sam Whitley, a Pacific Drilling offshore worker. The fatality took place on the Pacific Santa Ana during initial drilling operations in the Keathley Canyon area in the Gulf of Mexico for Chevron USA.
BSEE’s statement marked the first time the victim’s name was publically released.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Sam Whitley,” said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. We are committed to determining the direct and indirect causes of this incident.”
BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst has formally established an investigative panel. The five-member panel is comprised of BSEE investigators, an engineer, and a Coast Guard member. BSEE said that the panel will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident in order to identify the causes and any contributing issues that led to Whitley’s death. The panel will then make recommendations in the final report on how to strengthen implementation of existing safety and environmental management systems and any necessary reforms to existing regulations.
The focus of these recommendations, BSEE said, is to prevent a similar incident from occurring.