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. Jessica

    At least Venezuela has better valves in was shut down when it detected a 15 degrees tilt by an automatic computer program....!!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rosslaw

    If no one noticed, the Venezuelans claim that safety valves cut off the flow of oil and gas. If true, then they are apparently ahead of us in the drilling smarts. Drilling rigs, like ships before them, can sink but if you can deal with the larger aftermath you are ahead of the game. Maybe we should test bop's to see if they can shear through the drill pipe before a disaster, you know, just to see what the bop would do rather than just claim once again that "nobody knew THAT would happen" and happily plod on with the pure BS mantra that no one could have predicted it which once again (MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!).

    May 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. echotrain

    I wonder how many heads of state have Twitter accounts.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. zach

    At least the shut off off valves stopped the flow of gas

    May 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jessica

    ABAN PEARL used to be one of the most modern rigs on Earth...with state of the art computers and safety valves.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roscoe Chait

    It was Bush. Bush did it. Bush is always responsible. And his little dog, too...

    May 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fischdog

    How come the Venezuelan government can't be paid off for safety measures on there rigs, like BP did to the US government??

    May 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nowinners

    that's right MAC... you should also learn how to spell Palin's first name before you criticize someone else...

    May 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mitchel T.

    Let's see how long it takes for Obama to offer them funds for the cleanup/recovery.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. texas jack

    you folks couldnt por pee out of a boot with instructions on bottom we have a problem in the gulf and just like the oil companies and our illustrious government all any body wants to do is run their mouths and not do anything constructive shut up and go to work on the problem. oh im sorry only republicans know how to do that

    May 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    What's the over/under on when Hugo Chavez will blame the U.S. for this?

    May 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CommonSense

    How did Palin get injected into this? How many of you were elected Governor of Alaska?????

    May 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |

    I believe BP is from the UK, not US.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. crc

    Don’t believe everything you hear and only half of what you see.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jessica

    Another reason to buy at CITGO only....thanks Chavez...we love you..!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
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