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BP rig supervisors battle Gulf case

NEW ORLEANS — Two BP rig supervisors charged in the deaths of 11 workers in the Deepwater Horizon disaster claim the manslaughter counts in their indictment must be dismissed because they don’t apply to conduct on a foreign-owned vessel operating outside US territory.

Court filings Thursday by attorneys for Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine also say 11 of the 22 manslaughter counts do not extend to their clients because they were not responsible for marine operations, maintenance, or navigation of the rig that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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US District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. is tentatively scheduled to hear arguments on the motions on Aug. 7

Kaluza and Vidrine pleaded not guilty last year to the charges in their 23-count indictment, which accuses them of botching a key safety test and disregarding abnormally high pressure readings that were signs of trouble before the blast of BP’s Macondo well.

They also face one count of violating the Clean Water Act. The court filings do not seek the dismissal of that charge.

The Deepwater Horizon, a rig that BP leased, was about 48 miles from the Louisiana coast and operating under the flag of the Marshall Islands at the time of the explosion.

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