Roy Wyatt Kemp was scheduled to come home, for a time, the day after Deepwater Horizon exploded. His little daughter, three-year-old Kaylee, was counting down the days. It was something she always did whenever her father was expected.
The Natchez Democrat, a Mississippi newspaper which ran stories about some of the Deepwater 11, provides more details about Wyatt and his family. There we learn that Kaylee's countdown for her father's return ended when her mother told her he could not come home again.
The following is from Wyatt's obituary, provided online by Young's Funeral Home in Jonesville, Louisiana:
Wyatt was born on January 21, 1983 in Ferriday, La. to Peggy Kemp and the late Sandy Lee Kemp. He was a resident of Jonesville, La. and a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Jonesville, La. Wyatt was a devoted husband [to Courtney Carpenter Kemp], father [of Kaylee Joyce and Clara Maddison] and son but most of all he was a man who loved the Lord. Wyatt had a unique sense of humor. He loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and hunter. He enjoyed spending time with his family, friends, hunting dog Ellie, and fellow crewman of the Deepwater Horizon owned by his employer, Transocean Deepwater Drilling.
It is believed that Wyatt died while working in the mud pit, where drilling materials are handled, or in a nearby shaker room. He was 27 years old.
Instead of burying his remains - because his body was not recovered - the family buried a box of things which meant something to the person they lost.
Courtney Kemp gave a statement to members of Congress who are investigating why Deepwater Horizon exploded, resulting in the deaths of eleven people and producing America's worst oil leak. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held the hearing on the 7th of June, 2010, in Chalmette, Louisiana. The hearing's subject was the "Local Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill."
My name is Courtney Kemp and I am from Jonesville, LA. My husband is Roy Wyatt Kemp, one of 11 men killed on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded on April 20, 2010.
My husband and I have two precious daughters: Kaylee, 3, and Maddison, 4 months. Our girls will only know what a wonderful father they had by the stories we tell them. While I understand companies must make a profit, I do not believe it should be at the expense of risking lives and destroying families. I am asking you to please consider harsh punishments on companies who choose to ignore safety standards before other families are destroyed. I am not here today to suggest that Congress implement more safety regulations but rather to encourage you to hold companies accountable for safety regulations all ready in place and merely neglected. If proper safety procedures had been taken on the Deepwater Horizon, it is my firm belief that this tragic accident would have been prevented and my husband and the others would be alive today.
It is no secret that the oil spill has affected the environment. One can see the devastation that is happening to the coast line and magnitude of its effects on the seafood industry in general. However, our state has overcome many adversities in the past including numerous weather related issues such as hurricanes and droughts. We as Americans are strong people and will recover from this tragedy as well.
America is a rich nation regarding natural resources, but in my opinion we have become too dependent upon foreign imports, this includes oil. While we realize we are suffering from economic impacts resulting from the leaking oil it would be even more devastating if you allow drilling in the gulf to cease. If drilling ceases not only would off shore employees lose their jobs, but the trickle down effect would be devastating not only to the coastal states, but eventually to the entire country. You must not allow this to happen. Drilling in the gulf must continue.
I would also like to speak with the members of Congress about one of the many acts of Congress that may have a negative effect on my family's future. The Death on the High Seas Act is an antiquated Act of Congress, passed in 1920, which spells out the losses that the family of a person who suffers wrongful death on the high seas may recover.
DOSHA is a comprehensive act that limits allowable damages for deaths occurring on the high seas. This act does not permit the applications of state wrongful death remedies. It does not look to General Maritime Law to supplement the act's limitations.
In essence, the act limits the liability of the wrongdoers in this matter such as BP, Transocean and many others.
My family can never and will never be adequately compensated for our loss. What I am seeking is accountability from the wrongdoers who caused this terrible tragedy.
I ask that members of Congress use this catastrophe as a basis to revisit and amend this outdated Act from 1920. Revise DOSHA with 21st century standards and realities in mind.
Please use this opportunity to make corporate America more responsible and accountable. Require corporate wrongdoers to fully, fairly, and adequately compensate the victims of senseless accidents.
To leave a message for Wyatt's family, and to view more pictures which have been posted online by his friends and family, visit the Memorial Page created in his honor.
See, also, these pictures and brief bios of the other crew members who died in the explosion view blog archive