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. Amanda

    They said it's not an active rig.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. watchdog2020

    Interesting. I bet the government will now end up controlling all oil drilling and the public will applaud them for it. Just like they used 9/11 to get the Patriot Act passed. You know, for our own good.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. MGD

    The greenest, cleanest, and safest energy technology is nuclear.
    We should be at least doubling our nuclear generation capacity in the US from 20% of our electricity to 40%, while developing MORE domestic sources of oil, NOT less.!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. James

    @Randolph – your absolutist logic is what's flawed. You're saying that ANY use of fossil fuels justifies EVERY attempt at their recovery. It's always a cost-benefit analysis – and the cost is starting to look a lot bigger than previously expected...

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Patty

    Left-wing terrorism. They will do whatever they can to push their agenda, no matter the cost– because THEY know what is best for EVERYONE.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Larry

    with only 13 people on the rig as stated, it's likely not a drilling rig, but pumping. Damn good thing Hurricane Earl isn't in the gulf huh?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Herman the Kid

    Drill baby, drill.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Brent

    Someone say sabotage?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Westerly Breeze

    I wish everyone would relax a minute and stop the knee jerk reaction. We have no recent data to show that there is any inherent danger to humans or the environment by drilling in the ocean. Everyone acts like we should already know this is a bad idea. Lets get some good data first and then scream and yell before we move on to the next issue without doing anything like we always do.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. MGD

    The greenest, cleanest, and safest energy technology is nuclear.
    We should be at least doubling our nuclear generation capacity in the US from 20% of our electricity to 40%, while developing MORE domestic sources of oil, NOT less!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dan

    facepalm...

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Alex

    Oh boy, here we go again...

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mike

    Well, I guess we now know who was right about the Moratorium!!! OBAMA!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RYAND

    Why immediately think terrorism. If anyone is a terrorist it is the oil companies. They are the ones responsible for the deaths of thousands in the middle east and aprimary reason many terrorist are born from the middle east, how would you like it if some foreign company/country came to your homeland and told you what you can and cannot do? Terrorist aren't mad that we wear blue jeans and watch reality TV they are angry that we constantly mess with their way of life.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. THERE IS NO DRILLING NOW IN THE GULF!!!

    every idiot so quick to condemn drilling that you forgot that capt planet up in the white house banned it!!

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

      You are the idiot. The President banned was overturned through a court action.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      You are the idiot. The President's ban was stayed and then overturned through a court action.

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

      uhhhhh, even had the moratorium not been reversed by a judge – the moratorium was, I believe on new drilling. This was an existing rig. We don't even know if it was drilling, or pumping or what.

      There is a lot of drilling (and pumping) in the gulf – even as we speak.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
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