Those were crucial moments. “Disaster could have been averted,” noted Hamburger. “It’s expensive to push these emergency switches, so the captain felt he needed to check with the drilling manager. Obviously we can’t say for sure it would have worked, but it was an opportunity that was missed because of this managing structure.”

That’s great stuff, but it should have been in their own story. It wasn’t. Here’s what we got instead:

The Deepwater Horizon captain testified to investigators last month that he conferred with the drilling manager before he attempted to disconnect the rig. By the time a crew member decided on his own to push the emergency disconnect, it was too late.

It’s not hard to see that these overlapping jurisdictions, at a minimum, couldn’t make things clearer or easier in the event of a disaster. And it’s quite likely it made them worse.

This one’s worth further investigation.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.