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. chacamaka

    Knowing the way things operate in VZ, this story is probably completely made up to contrast the disasater in the Gulf. Poor taste.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James Bond

    Plaese do not be afraid. I am on the case of BOTH sinking platforms. SPECTRE is up to their old tricks. I am currently in.....Nassau.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ann

    I agree with BigChedda.. safety valves. what a concept.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sniffit

    "Your electronics won't save you in the times to come."

    Get a grip. The weekend is nothing to be afraid of.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bambi

    SO MANY COMMENTS! Wat the heck r ya'll talkin bout any way i say just read the stupid article an move on no body cares wat u think and it dont matter wat ya think either.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    The Caribbean tectonic plate is sinking. Keep your eyes open. More drama will unfold.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jessica

    Is a shame Venezuela has better technology than the United States...another reason to fill my two trucks at CITGO today..!!

    May 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    The real story here is that a president can let the people know what is going on in a matter of seconds.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KEVIN

    Guess we should have bought our safety valves from mexico instead of china. maybe we should just make our own stuff again and not buy from either. im for that plan.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Javier

    Jessica, your are not even close. Venezuela is violent, and a land of no mercy. Free hospitals? make me laugh more. Hospitals in Venezuela are free indeed, but they look more like a makeshift hospital from Haiti. I am not proud to say this but, Venezuela is more violent than Colombia. Venezuela is a land were anarchy, is a way of living.

    May 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jessica

    Javier, Colombia is the most violent country in the world....they now produce more opium and heroine than Afghanistan and Pakistan together. At least in Venezuela you don't see drugs, or weapons in the streets, Chavez is doing a good job.

    May 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark Ainsley Whelan

    Where do you get your info. Brazil is not 100% free of petroleum based production of fuel.
    We may be leading the world in Bio fuels but still rely heavily on oil production. In factour strongest dispute between the states and federal govt. is over the royalties of the oil reserves in the "pre-sal in the offshore reserves from Sao Paulo north to Espirito Santo.
    Unlike many here I am willing to put my real name to my comments.

    May 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Mark, are you the Mark Whelan researching the Whelan family tree?? If so, can you please reply to me as I have info that would be helpful to you.

      June 30, 2010 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bill Anderson

    Time to post Navy Seals on the decks and around all the deep water drilling rigs. The poeple responsible for this will revealed – The end's do not justify the means!

    May 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Javier

    Jessica, Colombia produces and guess where is consumed? USA. You dont see drugs in Venezuela? i am starting to believe you are bloging to have fun. My stepmom was murdered in the streets of Venezuela a year ago, and guess how? yes a damn gun. Read the news and see that there is more percapita guns in Venezuela, that people with a highschool degree. Chavez is promoting socialism, by planting fear. Ask any Venezuelan living abroad why they left?

    May 13, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cyg

    Wow – Venezuela and their workers know how to install safety devices that GASP – protect the environment? Good thing Bush did away with that EPA requirement on impacts for doing business in OUR country, huh?

    May 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
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