Transocean Executives Donating 'Safety' Bonuses to Gulf Spill Victims

Managers received $250,000 for meeting their safety goals last year despite the disaster

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Earlier in the week, Transocean--the company that owned the Gulf oil rig that exploded in April of last year--oxymoronically awarded a $250,000 bonus to senior level executives for meeting their company's yearly "safety" goals.

The possible reason? In an SEC filing, the company deemed 2010 "best year in safety performance in our company's history." Naturally, no one liked the head scratching decision, and Transocean went into damage control mode because of the bonuses.

Today, the company announced that the five senior level executives who had been given the "safety" bonuses were going to donate the $250,000 to a fund set up for the victim's families. "Slightly more than a quarter of their overall bonuses," will go to this fundreported The Wall Street Journal. Meaning that there's another $650,000 in collective bonuses that these executives received that won't be contributed to victim's families.

While Transocean might note that they have already paid settlements to some of these families at around $8 to $9 million dollars, that seems to miss the point. Just as the company issued only a semi-apology for saying that 2010 was the "best year in safety performance" (they later said the wording was "insensitive"), Transocean appears to be justifying the bonuses based on executives doing extra work as a result of the oil spill.

Forbes Jeff McMahon points to the company's annual report, which cites the executives "managing other demands stemming from these activities, in addition to performing their normal responsibilities," as a potential explanation for the bonuses.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.