House panel seeks documents on safety practices, equipment condition aboard doomed oil rig

A House committee investigating the Gulf oil spill has asked Transocean Ltd. for documents concerning safety and the condition of equipment on the company's ill-fated oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee made the request in a letter Friday. The committee cited testimony that day by an electronics technician on the rig that an alarm system was partially shut down the day the rig exploded.

Mike Williams told an investigative panel that the system was turned on to monitor for fire, explosive gas and toxic gas but that its sound and light alarms had been disabled.

The committee also cited a New York Times story this week which reported rig workers' concerns prior to the explosion about safety and the condition of some equipment on board.