May 13th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Gas rig sinks off coast of Venezuela, government says

Venezuelan government officials said Thursday they are investigating why a natural gas rig sank off the nation's coast in the early morning hours, the state-run energy company said.

All 95 workers on board were rescued and no gas leaks were detected because safety valves cut off the flow, said the company, Petroleos de Venezuela, also known as PDVSA.

The Aban Pearl platform, in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Sucre state, started to list at 11:23 p.m. Wednesday, PDVSA said on its website. An inspection of the four support columns detected massive flooding and an evacuation was started, the company said.

The captain and two engineers stayed aboard until the rig listed to 45 degrees and then also evacuated, PDVSA said.

No environmental damage occurred, the company said.

The rig was extracting natural gas from a well called Dragon 6, which was immediately sealed, PDVSA said.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke the news of the rig's sinking on his Twitter account, @Chavezcandanga.

"With sorrow I inform you that the gas platform Aban Pearl sank a few moments ago," Chavez wrote around 3 a.m. "The good news is that the 95 workers are safe."

He posted another tweet a few minutes later that said, "They were evacuated and at this moment two patrol boats from our Navy are moving to the area. We will go forward and will TRIUMPH. Viva VENEZUELA."

The rig workers were picked up by the tanker Petro Saudi Discover and were transported to land, some by helicopter. Four of the workers appeared later Thursday at a briefing on the incident broadcast by the government-owned VTV station.

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Filed under: Venezuela
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Robbie Cassidy

    Yay... another state ran news agency!

    May 13, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sara Roberts

    I wonder if this is another "Deepwater" rig

    May 13, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dennis

    Yay....another great job by Halliburton. Good thing they got all the taxpayer's money to do such a wonderful job.

    May 13, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Max

    Hugo Chavez reported on Twitter ~8hrs ago about this sink and safe evacuation of the rig workers. See below 2 his messages quoted:

    Con pesar les informo q se hundiĂł la plataforma gasifera Aban Pearl hace pocos momentos. La buena noticia es q los 95 trabajadores a salvo..

    Fueron evacuados y en estos momentos dos patrulleros de nuestra Armada se mueven al area. Seguiremos adelante y VENCEREMOS. VivaVENEZUELA!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. joe cassidy

    Lets blame this one on Shara Palin

    May 13, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Texas Pete

    If Chavez admitted it, I expect that this problem will eclipse the BP spill since he would shove something small under the rug.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ben

    Drill Baby Drill!

    May 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mac

    lets learn how to spell Sara Palin

    May 13, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robin Bray

    Robbie, it's State Run not ran. And Joe it's Sarah not Shara.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jmack

    Must have been Bush again.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Benjamin

    I guess Venezuela just didn't want to be outdone by the U.S. and our oil leak...

    May 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    @mac – You end up looking REALLY stupid when you correct someone with another mistake. It's "Sarah Palin", not "Sara Palin". You are probably smarter than her, however.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. victor

    yo no se como pueden decir q venceremos, cuando todo todo el pais le pasa lo mismo, o sea se esta derrumbando , ya q este ha sido el gobierno mas mediocre q los venezolanos hemos tenido

    May 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Johnny Five

    The Earth is changing. The sea beds are shifting. People need to wake up and listen. Soon you'll have to make a choice, believe the news or what you feel inside. Your electronics won't save you in the times to come. Listen to your heart.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BigChedda

    Well at least Venezuela knows how to use their safety valves to shut off the flow unlike some countries... GG

    May 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
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