22 Jun 2010

Oil rig's owners 'told about leak' before disaster

6:53 am on 22 June 2010

A worker on the oil rig that exploded, causing the huge spill in the Gulf of Mexico, says he spotted a leak in safety equipment weeks before the disaster.

Oil has been gushing into the Gulf since the 20 April blast on the Deepwater Horizon rig which killed 11 workers.

Worker Tyrone Benton told the BBC that both BP and the owner of the rig, Transocean, were told about the fault.

Mr Benton said the leak was not fixed at the time. Instead the faulty device was shut down and a second one relied on.

BP has committed to a $US20 billion clean-up and compensation fund.

The man running it, Kenneth Feinberg, says he is determined to speed up payments and says he will "err on the side of the claimant" in assessing emergency claims from businesses and fishermen.