Blind Shear Ram!

Ever since reading the NYTimes article on the details of the BP blowout, the phrase, blind shear ram, has been reverberating inside my head!  I love the sound of it.  So powerful, macho-mechanical, almost apocalyptic!  The last resort…that failed!  The failsafe mechanism.  We must…ac-ti-vate…the blind-shear-RAM!!

The last time I heard a word like this in the news was probably when MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction was in vogue among the nuclear wargame crowd.  Or perhaps it was in 1980, during the summer transit strike in New York City when the term Gridlock, with all of its ominous and terrifying connotations of complete urban dysfunction, made its way into public consciousness.  (I was told at the time by a former classmate, that a magazine of critical theory had devoted an entire issue to the term!  If anyone has a citation, send it please!)

Bind shear ram.  I just realized what other association was lurking there.  I read a novel by Stanislaw Lem many years ago, Fiasco!  Is that appropriate, or what!  In the beginning of the story, a mining engineer is working on Venus, sitting in the top of a gigantic robotic ‘man’ hundreds of feet high.  He gets stuck, is going to die, so he activates the last resort safety mechanism.  His body is rammed into a cylinder and immediately supercooled to preserve him for a future time when they may have figured out how to unfreeze him without turning him to mush.

Memory does funny things.

 

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2 Responses to Blind Shear Ram!

  1. Neal says:

    The blind shear ram is designed to shear and crimp drill pipe. The problem with the Transocean well was that there was a joint at the shear instead of just the main stem of the pipe. The joint is much thicker and cannot be sheared.

    Disasters rarely happen owing to a single problem! The joint in the ram was just one of several problems on this well and one of at least two on the BOP after the drilling crew damaged it during a test.

  2. lichanos says:

    Disasters rarely happen owing to a single problem!

    Ain’t it the truth!!

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