Machinists cite China link in Gulf equipment failure

RP news wires

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) on July 19 faulted British Petroleum (BP) for ordering the use of low-cost repair facilities in China to modify critical safety equipment on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to The Observer, BP ordered the use of a Chinese repair facility to overhaul the rig’s blow-out preventer, a device that subsequently failed and led to the worst environment disaster in U.S. history.

“High-quality machining within extremely high tolerances is what American Machinists take pride in doing on a daily basis,” said IAM president Tom Buffenbarger. “News that British Petroleum sent the most critical piece of its blow-out preventer to China for overhaul comes as no surprise. Companies like BP consistently – and erroneously – equate cheaper with better.

“American Machinists have the skills to take us to the bottom of the ocean and the furthest reaches of space. But if company executives cannot tell the difference between materials and workmanship that can withstand the enormous pressures of the deep ocean and those that cannot, then they cannot be trusted to protect the environment nor even their own firm’s survivability,” said Buffenbarger. “Their negligence is unbelievable.”

The IAM is among the nation’s largest industrial trade unions, representing nearly 700,000 active and retired members under more than 5,000 contracts in aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, shipbuilding and defense-related industries. For more information, visit

Subscribe to Machinery Lubrication

About the Author