Snap offshore inspections uncover serious violations

Faced with questions about its commitment to safety, the Interior Department sent teams to the Gulf of Mexico last week to inspect giant cranes used in offshore oil and gas operations that are a significant source of accidents.

More than 50 inspectors, traveling on helicopters, conducted surprise inspections on about 40 offshore platforms and drilling rigs, said Jason Mathews, head of offshore safety management for the Gulf of Mexico at the department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental...

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