New Orleans, La. – The salvage company official testified at the start of a week-long hearing under way outside New Orleans. Doug Martin of Smit Salvage told the government panel that BP was worried the blaze on the Deepwater Horizon rig it was leasing was too hot for the salvage boat to launch an underwater robot. Martin says engineers wanted to close off the blowout preventer that failed to stop the oil spill. The unit was eventually launched, but failed to shut off the oil. The rig later sank. The Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are jointly investigating what caused the explosion and spill, and are expected to recommend improvements for safety and oversight. BP engineers are set to testify later this week.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.