U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier granted a U.S. Department of Justice motion ordering Transocean to submit all external audits and inspection reports from all Gulf vessels for discovery in the Gulf oil spill multi-district litigation (MDL).

The ruling came towards the end of a status conference in Barbier's court at the U.S. Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. Barbier presides over spill suits from many federal courts by appointment of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation.

U.S. Attorney Sharon Smith filed a petition for enforcement of an administrative subpoena issued in November after Transocean failed to submit all the documentation regarding external audits and inspection reports for all of its Gulf of Mexico vessels.

Transocean argued that the scope of the subpoena should only apply to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which exploded and sank in April, causing the oil spill in the gulf.

Barbier agreed with the U.S. Attorney's argument that the documents regarding all Transocean vessels in the Gulf should be required to turn over documents.

Smith argued that the paperwork was necessary to investigate possible systemic problems with vessels that would require statutory and regulatory changes.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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