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. Riley

    Anyone else starting to think that someone is going this on purpose?

    September 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Louis

    How can a flyover determine if oil is leaking or not? Don't they have a more accurate way of making that determination? That's like saying," The sun's not shining 'cause I don't hear it."

    September 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Indrajit

    The rigs blowing up in the gulf were caused by torpedo from the submarine, USS Pelosi.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jc

    To whoever stated the rig was in 340ft water ... check again Faux News states
    "The rig, which is in about 2,500 feet of water, is owned by Mariner Energy of Houston and located 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast."

    To the person who touting that it wasn't even a production platform ...
    " "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."

    September 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • luperculus

      JC, Faux News, not for the first time, is grabbing a story and running with it without checking the facts. Vermillion 380 block is about 80 miles from shore (I have a map of the Gulf on my desk). It is still on the offshore continental shelf, and the water depth (according to the map) is somewhere between 300 and 600 ft. To reach 2,500 ft it would have to be another 30 or 40 miles offshore. The platform is a production platform, but it produces gas (with a small amount of oil) rather than oil. So, it not an "oil production platform". What is was doing at the time of the accident, however, is as yet unknown. If, for instance, they were doing some major maintenance job, production may well have been shut down.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    Along this area lies the New Madrid Faultline. The ground is under a tremendous amount of pressure. The last earthquake to occur in the area was in the late 1800's. The two oil rig explosions prove that this fault line is once again active and under a lot of pressure. Roads are begining to buckle along the fault line as well, and some bridges have been closed. People living along this faultline should begin to prepare!!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • CajunB

      Interesting... there was also a small earthquake north of Baton Rouge about a month or two ago.

      I'm not buying into your theory, just backing it up a little bit.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CFer

    One more rig and I'll have Bingo!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Beo50

    Hey ya'll. Texas Tidings to ya. Gee Dub here. I know alot of you all are wondering how I managed this one without any workers getting killed. See, I didn't want that to happen the last time. But Rove got a little carried away with the methane and released too much of it. This time I worked alone and things turned out alot better. I'm just hopin that this one springs a leak that they can't stop so fast. The oil Cheney sold me needs a boost in value. That's all for now. See ya.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. TheBug

    Why blame it on Bush or Cheney, and get God into it or Obama? It is the illegal aliens fault! Blame it on them!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Aboutjab

    So, have the inspections of these rigs been increased after the last one?

    September 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Concerned in Louisiana

    This is sort of scary...Instead of blaming Obama or Bush, let's figure out why these companies are getting away with not following proper regulations and safety issues. I understand this is alot of people's way of living; my husband works offshore. However, I value the life of my husband as do many others who have relatives who work offshore. These oil companies should be held liable.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Michael

    Just ask yourself this next time you fill up your car, Should we stop drilling in the gulf? if you answered yes, give up your keys and start walking.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. IwondweIf

    wow did the gov just admit that his office made mistakes during the first oil disaster and he now has learned something... say it aint so.. he isnt blaming Obama.. wow

    September 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Arthur

    Ooops!

    September 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Annie

    I can't believe some people compare oil spills to car defects and such... the consequences are of far greater reach!
    Job losses? Why not switch to a job in the solar energy industry? The kind of people who talk about jobs would surely not have wanted the Nazi regime to go down – think about the poor incinerator clerks and Jew torturers who lost their jobs, what a pitty (ironic of course)!!
    What will happen after we extract the last oil drop from the earth? Some people can't even seem to be able to imagine that there are other possibilities and that changes are possible.
    But after reading most of the comments above, I'm depresed that so many are clinging on to this way of life that obviously has to be replaced with new cleaner technology – which already exist but needs the support of our governments, and thus, of the population to be further developped and perfected!

    September 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Bluemacaw

    I have been trying very hard to understand the Republicans' point of view. The only way to make anything happen is with compromise. But the speculation that Obama was some how responsible for this accident or the BP disaster is effin' crazy! How am I supposed to reason with someone who is crazy? Or a conspiracy theorist? And yet Republicans justify why we went to war with Iraq; when it is fact that the Bush administration lied about WMDs. If one of you could logically justify your stance with facts (and not some regurgitated opinion from Rush,Fox news, etc) then you would have the opportunity to influence other people to support your beliefs and more importantly, your candidate for office.

    September 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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