White House hits out over yachting race

THE WHITE House has hit out at BP chief executive Tony Hayward, who was spotted on his yacht just off the Isle of Wight over the weekend.

US President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rham Emanuel said that Hayward’s trip was “part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes”.

He said: “To quote Tony Hayward, he’s got his life back. I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting.”

Hayward was sailing on his 52-foot yacht “Bob” over the weekend after attending the annual JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race with his son.

A spokesperson from BP pointed out that this was the first day off Hayward had taken since the 20 April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and that it was “private time with his son”.

Members of the business community came out in his defence yesterday, criticising the way the US government has responded to the event.

David Buik of BCG partners said: “Having been castigated and pilloried by the US President and Congress as the most loathed man in the US, one can hardly blame Tony Hayward for taking a couple of days off to spend time sailing with his son.”

The embattled chief executive, who received a stark grilling by a US congressional panel last Thursday, will hand over operations in the Gulf to Bob Dudley, the former chairman of BP’s Russian venture, TNK-BP.

It is uncertain when the handover will officially take place, but the oil major said the process is currently being phased. Dudley was appointed with the task of handling and managing the clean up of the Gulf coast more than a week ago.

News comes as congressman Ed Markey, who chairs the House energy and environment committee, said 100,000 barrels of oil a day could have been leaking from the well if the blow out preventer was removed.