THE US GOVERNMENT will be paid $1.4 billion in fines and penalties by Transocean, the Swiss-based firm which owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
The settlement comes after the company pleaded guilty of violating the Clean Water Act in relation to the Deepwater Horizon disaster on 20 April 2010.
The rig explosion at the offshore platform killed 11 men and the subsequent leak released millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The agreement will see Transocean pay $400 million in criminal penalties, as well as a $1 billion civil fine. The Justice Department said the deal also forces the defendant to implement court-enforceable measures to improve the operational safety and emergency response capabilities at all their drilling rigs working in waters of the United States.
“This resolution of criminal allegations and civil claims against Transocean brings us one significant step closer to justice for the human, environmental and economic devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” said Attorney General Eric Holder, adding that it holds Transocean criminally accountable for the tragedy.
The settlement comes two months after BP was fined $4.5 billion for its role in the catastrophe. The two firms blamed each other for the errors made in the lead-up to the incident.
In a statement today, Transocean said the agreements “remove much of the uncertainty associated with the accident”.
“This is a positive step forward, but it is also a time to reflect on the 11 men who lost their lives aboard the Deepwater Horizon. Their families continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of all of us at Transocean.”
The fines will be paid over the next five years.