September 2nd, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Coast Guard: Platform on fire in Gulf; 13 workers rescued

[Updated at 9:36 p.m.] Earl has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane but is still dangerous, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. Thursday forecast. 
 
As of 8 p.m., the center of Earl was about 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket. It was heading north at about 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (165 kph). 
 
"Even if the center of Earl remains offshore ... hurricane force winds are expected to occur in the Outer Banks overnight tonight," the center said Thursday.

[Updated at 2:14 p.m.] For continuing coverage of the incident involving a production platform on fire in the Gulf read the full story here.

[Updated at 2:08 p.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Bordelon tells CNN there is a sheen at the site of the production platform that measures approximately 1 mile by 100 feet. This information comes after Gov. Bobby Jindal who said there were reports of a mile-long sheen.
[Updated at 1:03 p.m.] Mariner Energy, owner of the production platform, said in a press release that no hydrocarbon spill has been reported after an initial flyover of the incident.

"Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident," the statement said. "The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate."

The company also said no injuries have been reported.

[Updated at 12:48 p.m.] David Reed, a paramedic on board a neighboring oil rig located 14 miles from the platform that exploded, told iReport he saw all thirteen workers rescued from the water.

“We were up here in the radio room and all of sudden we saw a whole bunch of smoke coming from the platform," Reed said. "Shortly after all the radios started lighting up like a Christmas tree. They called any helicopters in the area, any boats in the area to respond, they were saying there were people in the water. There were multiple people in the water.”

See Reed's iReport of what he witnessed

WWL: Coast Guard reporting production platform incident

WDSU: Production platform explodes in Gulf

iReport: Did you see the explosion? Share images

[Updated at 12:32 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the federal government has "assets ready" to respond to any environmental problems resulting from the explosion of an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana.

[Updated at 12:31 p.m.] All thirteen people aboard a production platform that exploded in the Gulf are accounted for and safely on a commercial vessel according to initial information, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

"We continue to gather information as we respond with full force, and have oil spill response assets ready for immediate deployment should we receive any reports of pollution," the statement said.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that 12 people from the production platform are in water immersion suits as they await rescue.

Colclough told CNN there are reports the production platform, which is for both oil and natural gas, is still on fire.

"We don't know what caused the rig to catch on fire," he told CNN, noting the incident is under investigation.

Asked about concerns regarding oil leaks or pollution, Colclough said "there are reports the rig was not actively producing any product, so we don't know if there's any risk of pollution."

Mariner Energy is a leading independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the Gulf of Mexico. About 85 percent of the company's production comes from offshore assets, with a growing share of that coming from deepwater developments.

The explosion comes nearly five months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people and causing oil to gush into
the Gulf of Mexico, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

[Updated at 11:43 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the production platform explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.

Coast Guard Choppers are on the way to the site 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.

[Posted at 11:33 a.m.] An oil production platform has exploded 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana, with 12 people overboard and one missing, the Coast Guard said Thursday morning.

Rescue attempts are under way for at least 12 people, Coast Guard spokesman John Edwards told CNN. 13 people were on board the production platform total, Edwards said, noting 12 have been accounted for, but one person was missing.

The accident took place 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana on the Vermilion Oil production platform 380, which is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy.

The Coast Guard has multiple helicopters, an airplane and several Coast Guard cutters en route. It's unknown if there are any injuries.

soundoff (1,154 Responses)
  1. Eddie VanHelsing

    this wouldnt be a problem if we were drilling ON LAND

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • QueenZola

      Yeah, because land rigs NEVER explode or cause environmental damage...fool.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • andino_mitrell

      Alaska drilling anyone?

      September 2, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • American

      You are too stupid to live. Where there is drilling, there will be accidents. Onshore or offshore makes no difference. Idiot Palin.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • ww803

      Yes, because in the history of oil production, no one ever thought "Hey, it would be easier to drill on land than in the middle of the freaking ocean". I'm pretty sure you drill where oil is most readily available and accessible.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Gunkle

      Sure Eddie – Then we can spill oil and kill people on land. Can we start drilling in your back yard?

      September 2, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      nope....sure there would be accidents, but the terrain wouldn't cause us to have to wait 3 months to fix them....the tree huggers need to open their eyes. They argue against opening the Alaskan reserve because of the fear of environmental damage, but don't realize that because we can't drill in the reserves, we're forced to drill out in deep waters where, when an accident happens, we end up killing more wildlife than even exists in the Alaskan reserve......they can't see the forest through the trees!!

      September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      Obviously you haven't heard of Texas City. Read up before you post.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Different John

      Underground oil deposits are not infinite. Oil reserves run out of oil as they drain. Onshore and even near-shore reserves have been drained or near-drained for a while now, that's why oil producers are moving out into more difficult places to drill. Look up the "economic limit" of oil wells.

      If you don't think we drill on land, you've never driven... anywhere? I saw plenty of oil rigs all over the place in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, even some here in Ohio.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Accidents can happen either on land or water, but are more manageable on land. Drilling on land is safer and won't kill the environment whether all those who hate oil want to admit it or not. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by not allowing drilling in places like ANWR where we have huge known reserves.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rbnlegnd101

    Dill baby? Drill?

    How is this a good idea?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • L

      Why dont we ask the amazingly intelligent Sarah Palin for an answer to that question.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • ww803

      Well, how else are you going to get the electricity to the computer you are reading/posting from. Everything around you is made directly or indirectly from oil. Unless you plan on becoming a naturlist living in the forest, how do you plan on cutting back your oil dependency if we stop drilling?

      September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      I walked to work today. The power I'm using on my computer comes from hydroelectric and nuclear.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. k

    here we go again

    just another reason why we should go back to horse and buggy

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kim

    Please pray for these families.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dave

    Dag Nabbit! Alaska is sounding better and better!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbey

      god, i hope that sarcasm is sincere.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      You wouldn't want to live there. Awful climate and the melting of the permafrost is making it worse.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hello

    [Raises hand]

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. kimmy (NC)

    Can anyone say 'renewable energy' Wind Energy, Solar Energy. Recycleable Energy.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eddie VanHelsing

      Let me know when you invent a windmill powered car. Id love to see one.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • ughMERICA

      Wind Energy!, Solar Energy!. Recyclable Energy! WE ALL WANT IT!

      September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • ughMERICA

      @Eddie VanHelsing

      There are electric cars........

      September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Getreal

      Shut-up Kimmy.. All your renewable crap requies oil to manufacture, maintain, keep running.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • USA

      It's easy to say, but impossible to implement for years.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • kiraesq

      All the politicians can SAY it, but no one seems to know how to make it HAPPEN. Now might be a good time to figure this out.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JZ

      You going to be footing the bill for that? Stop spending my money!

      September 2, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • MH

      Even those technologies require mined materials like copper, lithium, etc. which, in turn, requires massive amounts of portable energy to mine, process into final form, and transportation to the final destination. We need to get there eventually, but we hoomans need to invest now and expect the returns to come much later.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Right now, it won't be possible to completely get rid of non-renewable energy, but improvements in renewable energy for what we can use it for (such as electricity) would extend the supply of oil for things that can't use renewable energy yet like airplanes.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Different John

      Oil is a finite resource. We've been taking the oil from in oil reserves and converting it to tiny explosions in our engines and exhaust for a hundred years now.

      Deride renewable energy all you want, either we find a way to live without oil now while we have the option, or we have to find a way later when we run the eff out, and meanwhile millions starve because food can't get to them.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • oneStarman - Walla Walla, WA

      ITS JUST IMPOSSIBLE some say to stop burning oil and coal. UNTRUE we could TODAY convert the car in our Driveway to an Electric with a kit any auto mechanic can install – for the 80% of our driving which is commuting this works fine – keep the SUV for the weekend if you must. A new product called SOLAR SHINGLES look and are nailed to our roof-tops with the power fed into the GRID to reduce the need for Utility Power. Algae oil and other Bio-sources can replace the rest of what we use oil for – TODAY (The Air Force has already ordered a TEST 400,000 Gallons of Algal derived Jet Fuel – as a National Security Issue)

      September 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ron

    Did it explode on it's own accord, or is this a terrist attack?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tod

      When it's a choice between malevolence and incompetence, incompetence wins out 99% of the time.

      The rig blew because the oil riggers are morons.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Oil rigs don't just blow up on their own. How many times in the entire history of offshore drilling has this happened, especially the freak-accident kind? And now we have had two this year in the Gulf of Mexico. It's insane to think that this is just the natural risk to offshore drilling. How can we not suspect foul play?

      September 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Different John

      This rigs are way the heck out in the middle of the ocean... unlike the U.S.S. Cole, a little rubber dinghy can't just paddle on up with an explosive device without somebody noticing.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • cmblake6

      Well caught, Brian, well caught. So, what are they going to use this "corporate disaster" to control? I'm supposing the government thinks the people really are that stupid. If it worked in the Soviet, and it worked in the Orient, it should work here. And from the kool-aid drenched answers I see, it will for some.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    we're all doomed.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • hmm

      ..well.... that sort of comes with the whole life package, eh? We're all doomed from birth. It's what we do in between that matters.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      woooo woo hmm that is uncalled for. People died in the last rig and people might have died in this one. Dont go around say stuff like that.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CW

    Great, here we go again...

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Scott

    So the moratorium was unnecessary, huh?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mal

      The moratorium IS in effect. What good did it do?

      September 2, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • A Different John

      What good did the moratorium do? Well, this rig wasn't producing oil at the time, was it?

      September 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coherent1

      Mal, the courts ruled against the moratorium. The DOJ were appealing, and asked to keep the moratorium until the appeal was completed.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jdoggers

      Yeah, We are supposed to drill baby drill as palin and all the republicans have continued to push for. Who cares about safety or the environment, I mean why would you ever want to do anything that gets in the way of the oil companies record profits?

      September 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dog

    Interesting to say the least. Terrorism?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • cmblake6

      Ah, the question in my mind for that is "external or internal"? Hey, it would have worked much better if so much of the American public wasn't seeing through the mask of the Alinsyite disciple.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jon

    [Insert poorly worded political rant here]

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Butch

      Jon, you forgot to say misspelled and poorly worded rant! :)

      September 2, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • emma

      I vehemently agree and/or disagree!

      September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. joe

    gosh! first lousiana disaster oil last april and now is today again.????????????????????????????????????????????

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ashley

    Here we go again......how long will it take to get this one under control?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
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