Mystery solved: Maine factory’s containment boom rejected for failing quality control test

posted at 9:11 pm on June 14, 2010 by Allahpundit

The blogospheric buzz last week over this story piqued Tapper’s curiosity so he followed up with the Coast Guard. We’ve got a factory in Maine cranking out mile after mile of containment boom; we’ve got two U.S. Senators sending letters to the Coast Guard last month to let them know about it; and we’ve got so much red tape tangling things up that Adm. Thad Allen still hadn’t heard about it as of three days ago. This can’t be such a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare that perfectly good boom is going untouched because the feds still can’t get their act together after almost two months, can it?

Thankfully, no:

Over the weekend, Capt. Ron LaBrec from Coast Guard Public Affairs told me that according to a BP quality control inspector the PackGen boom did not pass an initial quality control test…

“There were concerns with material and end connectors,” LaBrec said. “BP has inspectors who visit facilities and regularly test boom. In addition to testing boom from new suppliers, boom from existing manufacturers is also tested/inspected. The Coast Guard also inspects boom that we purchase from suppliers. It is important because poorly designed boom may not work as intended.”

Lapoint said the boom “not only meets” standards, “it exceeds it.”

“The only issue was the end connectors,” Lapoint said. So, he said, “we changed it to the universal connector, so there shouldn’t be any problems at all.”

But he remains frustrated. “I had two engineers go down to the Gulf. I was told it had to be the universal connector. I can’t tell you the miles of boom coming in from overseas that doesn’t have the universal connector.” He called the pushback against his boom “hogwash.”

Another BP inspector swung by the factory on Friday and reportedly seemed more “receptive.” Which, I guess, frames the new question: If bringing the boom up to spec was a relatively simple matter, why wasn’t that communicated to PackGen weeks ago?

Speaking of things that should have been done weeks ago, Tapper’s also got a sneak preview of Obama’s Oval Office address tomorrow night. The item that caught my eye: Apparently he’s going to give us some sort of estimate on when BP should be able to capture most of the oil leaking from the well, which seems a highly risky proposition given their record of failures thus far. Then again, considering that he’s now actually sending out fundraising e-mails related to the spill, the next missed deadline will at least have a silver lining for his campaign treasury. Here he is this afternoon reassuring an anxious America that the gulf’s seafood remains scrump-diddly-umptious. Thank heaven for small mercies. Click the image to watch.


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As of June 1 there was 1.9 million feet of containment boom deployed. That is over 350 miles. Another 1.8 million feet of sorbant boom was also deployed as of June 1. So they are certainly getting boom from someplace. And again, Packgen are the only people complaining.

crosspatch on June 14, 2010 at 11:46 PM

Just seeing on Drudge that Jindal has taken matters into his own hands and ordered the National Guard to commence building the barriers? Does anyone have any more info on this??

cane_loader on June 14, 2010 at 11:53 PM

Just seeing on Drudge that Jindal has taken matters into his own hands and ordered the National Guard to commence building the barriers? Does anyone have any more info on this??

cane_loader on June 14, 2010 at 11:53 PM

crane_loader: Here are some links!!
============================================================

Gov. Bobby Jindal Orders National Guard to Build Barrier Wall Off Louisiana Shore

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/article/bp-oil-spill-gov-bobby-jindal-orders-national/story?id=10914348
———————————————

Gov. Bobby Jindal Website

http://www.gov.louisiana.gov/
———————————-

Louisiana National Guard Website

http://www.la.ngb.army.mil/256th.htm
—————————————

LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD HEADLINE NEWS

http://www.la.ngb.army.mil/
——————————

canopfor on June 15, 2010 at 12:08 AM

The fact that nobody is giving a date for this alleged inspection tells me this is just after-the-fact CYA. Unless a date was given and I’ve missed it?

Missy on June 15, 2010 at 12:08 AM

Oh yeah, I just read the Gateway Pundit thread!
About time for Jindal to just lead and forget the idiot shrimp-munching president.

By the way, it was announced today that BP is coming to town Thursday night to meet with irate coastal residents in a town hall. I will attend and report back on the reception they receive!

cane_loader on June 15, 2010 at 12:13 AM

Posted just five hours ago at MSNBC: The State Department is seeking international help for the Gulf.
http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/06/14/4509459-us-explores-foreign-assistance-in-gulf

Someone tell me: how long has it been since the blowout?

onlineanalyst on June 15, 2010 at 12:14 AM

WTF? This thing blew out 2 months ago, and 0bama announces a COMMiSSION today? Get the Feds the HELL out of the Gulf, and let us locals plug the damn hole! Jindal should kick all the Feds out and prevent their return. 0bama, stay the f** out of my state -you are NOT WANTED!

cane_loader on June 15, 2010 at 12:16 AM

This explanation makes no sense at all.

IF there was ever a quality issue, the manufacturer would have been informed. CLEARLY, the manufacturer would NOT have continued to complain on TV if his product had been found defective. He would have instead quietly worked to correct the issue.

Why would ANYONE take anything that a politically motivated site like ABC news at face value? ABC, and Tapper specifically, have shifted their news to focusing on supporting the Democratic agenda more than the truth.

This ‘story’ is by no means the end of the search for the truth in this matter.

Freddy on June 15, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Maybe if he made himself some Union Boom this wouldn’t be a problem.

Rbastid on June 15, 2010 at 1:21 AM

Presidunce CYA stomps around the beach looking for asses to kick. Maybe someone should turn chumpy around so he can kick his own ass!

Ogabe on June 15, 2010 at 1:42 AM

Allen said they were short of boom and looking everywhere for it. Now that Oilybama got caught with his pants down, they’re scrambling to deflect criticism as usual.

I think we can all say it now – “Barry Obama is the worst President the US has ever had!

Ogabe on June 15, 2010 at 1:48 AM

Why would ANYONE take anything that a politically motivated site like ABC news at face value? ABC, and Tapper specifically, have shifted their news to focusing on supporting the Democratic agenda more than the truth.

This ’story’ is by no means the end of the search for the truth in this matter.

Freddy on June 15, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Tapper didn’t really come out on one side or the other.

Black Yoshi on June 15, 2010 at 1:55 AM

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the BLOWOUT could get WORSE. The seafloor, not just around the BOP, but a little distance from fhe BOP is leaking. Just a matter of time until the leak gets worse AGAIN. Check out “THE OIL DRUM” site. The cover-up and incompetence by the Obama Administration is gonna TOAST this Administration.

bigmike on June 15, 2010 at 2:01 AM

I’m waiting for Obamao to do a Bubba to reassure the consumers of gulf seafood:

“There’s boiled shrimp, and grilled shrimp, and curry shrimp, and coconut shrimp, and shrimp-ka-bobs, and shrimp stew, and shrimp wonton, and butterfly shrimp and shrimp rolls and shrimp paste, and shrimp scampi and …”

Hey, wait a minute. When does the FDA come out and remind us that shrimp contains a lot of _bad_ cholesterol and should be avoided?

And that eating fish is dangerous due to the amount of mercury contamination?

I guess that won’t happen because the different factions of the government always coordinate on these things, right?

Timothy S. Carlson on June 15, 2010 at 3:00 AM

The end connectors invalidate the boom? That’s because none of those brainiacs know that sailors can tie pretty damn good knots…
KZnextzone on June 14, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Blank knots!

This is what duct tape was made for!

DSchoen on June 15, 2010 at 5:44 AM

An Admiral said he hadn’t heard of them. BP said they inspected the product and it didn’t meet standards.
crosspatch on June 14, 2010 at 10:16 PM

According to the article it was the CG that stated BP inspected and rejected the boom.

The CG also said they (the CG) also inspected and rejected the boom.

This is why the Admiral saying he never heard of PackGen doesn’t pass the smell test.

Either the CG inspected and rejected PackGen the boom
OR
The CG never heard of PackGen.

Can’t be both at the samr time.

DSchoen on June 15, 2010 at 5:59 AM

If anyone thought for a minute that the boom from that company would be bought, you really need a brain cell infusion. As soon as I saw this reported, the only question I had was what excuse the government would come up with to not buy it.

Jaynie59 on June 15, 2010 at 7:32 AM

Or….did this guy just not bribe the right people?

jeanie on June 15, 2010 at 7:40 AM

I’m looking forward to the November “quality control test”.

forest on June 15, 2010 at 7:44 AM

WTF does BP now about quality control? IDIOTS!

Lisa on June 15, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Just their way to cover their *ss, before it gets kicked…
“Quality control” is often subjective, or the regs so tightly written that someone is always in “violation”.
They had egg on their face, so they just said it was not the right quality…as if that really matters in relation to what is happening.

right2bright on June 15, 2010 at 7:57 AM

The government claimed they didn’t know about the boom. How can they claim they looked at it and didn’t buy boom they didn’t know about?
Where is their letter indicating they liked the boom but it was not up to spec?

seven on June 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

As soon as I saw this reported, the only question I had was what excuse the government would come up with to not buy it.

Jaynie59 on June 15, 2010 at 7:32 AM

Exactly…

right2bright on June 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

1. They were perfectly usable with the original joint, and
2. switching to the bureaucracy’s favored joint was a quick fix that has long since been accomplished.

American Elephant on June 14, 2010 at 9:58 PM

You only have to change the two ends to the frickin’ universal connectors anyway. The rest can be hooked together using their proprietary connectors.

Sloan Morganstern on June 15, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Soros to buy BP in 5… 4… 3… 2…

txhsdad on June 15, 2010 at 9:00 AM

When did crosspatch bump his head?

Basilsbest on June 15, 2010 at 9:14 AM

So that’s what Brian Wilson is up to these days…

Tom_Shipley on June 15, 2010 at 9:23 AM

This is why the Admiral saying he never heard of PackGen doesn’t pass the smell test.
DSchoen on June 15, 2010 at 5:59 AM

I think Allen is a pretty stand-up guy. If he says he didn’t know about them, I believe it. It is hardly surprising that the Coast Guard Commandant isn’t personally familiar with every supplier’s situation. And, when he got asked about it by Chris Wallace, he said the Coast Guard would issue a statement–and they did.

My larger problem isn’t the boom thing. Logistical hang-ups happen all the time, especially in crisis situations. And, for all that I (and lots of other people) like to make fun of the Army’s bureaucracy and $600 hammers an so forth, the fact is our military has some of the best crisis logistics in the world. If you don’t believe me, look at how quickly and more effectively we were able to deliver aid to Haiti than all the NGOs and the UN, and look at how well the Third Infantry Division was able to get control of New Orleans after Katrina.

No–the bigger problem is that Allen really doesn’t have the authority to make things happen on the clean-up side. He has to clear everything he does with 86 different bureaucracies. And, let’s be honest, the Coast Guard does not fix oil wells for a living–so there’s not much they can directly do to “plug the damn hole.”

Outlander on June 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Here’s my problem with the “quality control issues” as stated.

If I’m in a boat, and find a hole in the bottom, I’m going to patch it as best I can before starting bailing. If I don’t have a USDA certified Grade A Hull Plug, I’ll use a couple of dirty rags, some wood, and move something heavy on top for direct pressure. It may not stop the leak 100%, but it’s a damn sight better than leaving the hole open the entire time.

My point is that an imperfect solution still reduces the overall damage until a perfect solution can be found.

What’s the old saying? Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good?

How much better off would we be if we had been removing even 30% of the oil in the Gulf 45 days ago, as opposed to letting it flow at 100% for 45 days, then getting something in place that removes 90%?

This is nothing more than a bureaucratic Charlie-Foxtrot.
FUBAR is SNAFU.

NavyspyII on June 15, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Just their way to cover their *ss, before it gets kicked…
“Quality control” is often subjective, or the regs so tightly written that someone is always in “violation”.
They had egg on their face, so they just said it was not the right quality…as if that really matters in relation to what is happening.

right2bright on June 15, 2010 at 7:57 AM

It’s also quite possible to write a spec which only certain products (i.e., made by the favored company of the moment) can meet. You simply specify that the product must have some non-critical particular feature. If only one company’s product has that feature, only that company’s product can be used–even though that company’s name was never mentioned in the spec.

This maneuver (at least in the wonderful world of specifying building products) is called, “writing a closed spec.” Used to run into this all the time before I retired.

Owen Glendower on June 15, 2010 at 11:05 AM

It FAILED BP’s qc!?!?!?! They did such a bang up job on that rig, cutting corners to save $$$ and make deadlines, these booms can’t do any MORE damage!

PatriotPete on June 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Could it be that Maine has two Republican senators?

{^_^}

herself on June 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM

This can’t be such a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare that perfectly good boom is going untouched because the feds still can’t get their act together after almost two months, can it?
Thankfully, no:

So no attempt to curtail the damage of the oil getting to the shore is better then buying oil booms that do not have the designated attachments? So how come the next question asked by tapper, the designated fake “objective” journalist foisted on us great unwashed wasn’t, “Then from what company are you buying hundreds of miles of boom?” Somehow these booms are not as effective as just dumping sandbags into the gulf which Louisiana has been forced to do?

Journalist and bloggers can’t really be this stupid, can they? It’s that or they think we are.

peacenprosperity on June 15, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Soros to buy BP in 5… 4… 3… 2…

txhsdad on June 15, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Not yet. He hasn’t pushed the stock price down far enough, yet.

;-)

Spiny Norman on June 15, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Refused to watch… Do I get an A? Or do I have to settle for a ‘good solid B+’?

RalphyBoy on June 15, 2010 at 9:42 PM

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