Published: Aug 23, 2010 6:03 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 23, 2010 3:03 PM EDT

HOUSTON (AP) - The official in charge of identifying and dealing with risks of BP's offshore Gulf marine operations today acknowledged he rarely had contact with a key manager at the owner of the rig.

The fiery April 20 rig accident left 11 workers dead and set off the massive oil spill.

Neil Cramond testified in Houston before an investigative panel looking into the cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion off Louisiana.

Cramond says he rarely communicated with Paul Johnson, identified as Houston-based Transocean's rig manager. Johnson's role on the Deepwater Horizon was not immediately specified. He was scheduled to testify later.

Cramond also testified that captains of rigs like the Deepwater Horizon are ultimately responsible for crew safety and environmental matters, but are not always involved in decisions about how to deal with drilling and risks.

The testimony came before the joint U.S. Coast Guard-Bureau of Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement investigative panel.