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. Irish Rican

    Hmm. I was skeptical the first time, but figured it was truly and accident. But for a second American rig to have an accident like this in 4 months when there hadn't been an accident in 40 years? I'm thinking Green"peace" or some other loony leftist group is behind it.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Questions...

    Just seeking knowledge....

    1. If an oil production platform is inactive, why are there workers on it? What do the workers do?

    2. What's the difference between an oil production platform and an oil rig?

    3. If the platform is inactive, why would it explode?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. J

    Good thing Earl isn't heading that way. Hope the rig doesn't sink.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Greg

    Do any of you idiot "Drill Baby Drill" inbred Louisiana swamp rats understand that the oil that comes out of most of the gulf goes right to the spot market. All you families of rig workers should be the first to clean up your messes.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. brandon

    This along with the B.P disaster along with the 4 to 5 other smaller scale oil-spills that have happened over ther summer is the evedence the world is comming to an end. I dont know how it can withstand so much damage. I hope I am wrong, but now if any oil is loose now it may catch the huricane currenly forming... after that there is no human possible way of cleaning up that much wide spread oil.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zach, TEXAS

      BRING ON THE DOVE HUNT BABY!!!! lol

      September 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BarlaC

    @..... (Coast Guard Wife)

    I agree. We have a really close friend that is a rescure swimmer. They deserve much respect. My thoughts are w/you and your family.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. DAVID,ATLANTA

    Hopefully this is not another crisis like the last one.And if it this will backfire in the face of the republicans who mustered up the oil rig workers to start spewing crap about how President Obama should continue to allow the drilling,when its the oil company,they're friends in the republican party who brainwash these people into working in an unsafe occupation and are not trying to insure their safety..
    And its sad that these people are too stupid to know it..Sad!!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Oh Hai

    Here we go again.....

    September 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Chris

    Oh no... I hear there was a car accident at the end of the road. When will people stop driving? Damn that Obama, Palin, Bush, Cheney, God, Baby Jesus... They are all responsible. When will it end?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tom

    This is Post Glacial Rebound people!! When is everyone going to wake up to this insanity. Also, how can an oil rig thats inactive have 13 people on it and explode? Something is not right here. Look up Post Glacial Rebound, this is merely the beginning. You will begin to see many of these rigs sink and/or explode.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Wille Wigger and the Chocolate Factory

    Where are all the muslims? Are they all accounted for?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • A Different John

      1,500,000,000 of them, here's a clipboard and a pen, start counting.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Burp

    Here we go again. There was a reason to ban drilling until we fully understand what the risks and problems are. Republicans are greedy, money sucking fools who care nothing about the environment. To them, it is about profit. I am tired of hearing about how gas prices will go up. So be it. There will be less people on the freeway and less toxic air. As for the gulf region, it is time to explore other avenues of work. I don't shed many tears for your region because you built your economy around this dirty industry. You made your bed, now sleep in it.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • LiberalNN

      Sure and while we're at it let's all stop driving to work so the economy can really tank!

      September 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. troutmaskreplica

    The difference between an oil spill (not necessarily the case with today's incident) and mining or other accidents is that it negatively impacts the economy - businesses and jobs - as well as the environment for a large geographical area. To those who insist on retaining offshore drilling because of the jobs that depend on it, you've got me curious: what do you say to the thousands people who lose their jobs, income, and business due to a spill (such as what happened in the BP disaster). Is it that your livelihood is more important than theirs? And by arguing that what we need most is safety regulations to be improved and enforced, am I right in assuming that you want the government to undertake this? (regulation enforcement costs a lot of taxpayer dollars)

    September 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • key typer

      Agreed it will cost money, but no where near as much as if we ignore it and not have industry input. We have to look at these things as a system that we will be relying on for decades rather than just fire-drilling our way through and waiting for the industry to be the shepards.
      There are many regulations on the books right now that are not being complied with. Law enforcement is cheaper than ecosystem recovery efforts, disaster relief, and drastic emergency repair schemes. We are treating our infrastructure like we can fund it with pay-day loans. It's ridiculous.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Queen Barbara

    We should continue development of our own oil supplies and become self-sufficient in all aspects of American and Izrael's wealth so we do not have to deal with our enemies for anything that is vital for our wealth, health,and energy.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suz

      Who cares about Israel? No one here does.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Derrick

    Regardless of being a random act or a random failure, This doesn't pass the sniff test to me... I would immediately have our military seal off and search the gulf.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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