Further oil on BP's troubled waters....
With the leaking oil well now apparently successfully plugged it might have looked as though BP’s troubles were now all behind them. The dismissal of the Chief Executive, Tony Hayward looked as though it was the final chapter in a year that had seen the corporation’s reputation tarnished by a massive environmental disaster and murky rumours about the company’s apparent influence over the Scottish Government’s controversial decision last year to allow the premature release of convicted Libyan terrorist Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
But just when the Board of Directors might have thought they’d got their lives back a new set of problems has appeared on the horizon.
A leading academic has now uncovered evidence which suggests that the company may well have played a pivotal role in events which led to the crack appearing in that most sacred of American icons - The Liberty Bell.
Professor Stephen Carillon, a tintinologist at the University of Philadelphia, has uncovered documents from the city archives dating back almost ninety years and which appears to cast doubt on the original version of events. History had suggested that the crack simply appeared during testing, shortly after the bell had been hung from temporary scaffolding near to the State House in Philadephia, but Professor Carillon says that simply doesn’t ring true.
Pointing to the dusty pile of papers in his cramped office he posits, in his Southern drawl, an alternative theory;
‘Well these records go back to the very beginning of our civilisation – they’re almost one hundred years old – and they show that the bell came from London not far from the present offices of BP. Stands to reason they had something to do with it - don’t it?’
Sure enough, our own enquiries confirm that BP’s global headquarters in St James’ in London are less than four miles away from the Whitechapel Foundary where, in 1752, the bell was cast.
And, if further proof were needed, Professor Carillon explains how the bell was brought over from England in a boat called Hibernia – the Latin name for Ireland – a place which has been visited on more than one occasion by BP’s gaffe-prone former boss Tony Hayward.
No-one from BP was available for comment today. On Wall Street the market reacted poorly to this latest piece of bad news and the BP share price continued to fall all day until the market’s closing bell rang.
Meanwhile, in New York, a team of international scientists are meeting to discuss emerging evidence which suggests BP has a history littered with the disasters of deep sea oil drilling. According to records kept at Companies House in London, in 1911 the company commissioned a rig called ‘Eisberg’ to drill for oil in the mid-Atlantic. Radio contact with the rig was suddenly lost one night in mid-April 1912 and no trace of the men aboard was ever found. Unhappily, the sinking of RMS Titanic in the same area at the same time meant that rescue efforts were diverted to assist the passengers of that ill-fated ship.