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. Aaron

    @Jessica:
    That is NOT a picture of the Aban Pearl... that's the Thunderhorse Platform which was listing after Hurricane Dennis in 2005. http://www.wunderground.com/wximage/viewsingleimage.html?mode=singleimage&handle=dhfly8&number=1

    May 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ed Rollins

    It was loaded down with Cocaine and sank.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. el rey JC

    I am very sorry for my crude comment on Mr. Chavez i was mistaken
    Es REPUTO!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Holly Willis

    Chavez... what a joke! Why can't we get rid of ppl like this???

    May 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ddrsolo

    Anybody who thinks drilling platforms are safe needs to google "rogue waves".

    May 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Uche

    Morons!!! natural gas does not spill, it evaporates and on contact with water it bubbles to the top and its released into the air. So even though the article reads "there were no spills," its misleading because there couldn't possibly be a natural gas spill in the first place. Oil on the other hand mixes (not dissolves) with water and thats why BP has such huge issues.

    And for the record BP stands for British Petroleum, but its still an american company. These blogs are the death of us all with so much misleading information

    God Help us!

    May 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nancy R

    I originally thought about maybe an earthquake on the ocean floor, when the rig in the Gulf exploded; and now Venezuela???? Makes you wonder; doesn't it?

    May 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ramtruck2500

    Not areal big fan of this country but good for them! Quite obviously their safety was'nt compromised by privatizedinspectors ans assorted privatized BS.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NICK PAPATONIS CNN I REPORT

    IF YOUR MAD ABOUT THE OIL SPILLS AND PLATFORM SINKINGS GO WATCH THIS YOUTUBE SENSATION AND ENJOY HIS MUSIC. HE IS A 6TH GRADER FROM OKLAHOMA.
    I DISCOVERED HIS TALENT WHILE COVERING TORNADOES JUST A FEW DAYS AGO IN OKLAHOMA.http://www.youtube.com/user/greyson97

    May 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. drsolo

    google "special safety valves brazil" it is an acoustic safety valve can be triggered without contact from a boat. it backs up the first two safety devices. but we still dont know if the explosion blew out the safety valve area.

    actually Norway and Brazil are the two countries

    May 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NICK PAPATONIS CNN I REPORT

    F YOUR MAD ABOUT THE OIL SPILLS AND PLATFORM SINKINGS GO WATCH THIS YOUTUBE SENSATION AND ENJOY HIS MUSIC. HE IS A 6TH GRADER FROM OKLAHOMA.
    I DISCOVERED HIS TALENT WHILE COVERING TORNADOES JUST A FEW DAYS AGO IN OKLAHOMA. http://www.youtube.com/user/greyson97

    May 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NICK PAPATONIS CNN I REPORT

    ONE MORE TRY....

    IF YOUR MAD ABOUT THE OIL SPILLS AND PLATFORM SINKINGS GO WATCH THIS YOUTUBE SENSATION AND ENJOY HIS MUSIC. HE IS A 6TH GRADER FROM OKLAHOMA.
    I DISCOVERED HIS TALENT WHILE COVERING TORNADOES JUST A FEW DAYS AGO IN OKLAHOMA.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greyson97

    May 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bubinski

    Must have been that pesky George Bush trying to overthrow Hugo Chavez by sinking that rig.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. northendbob

    For thre first picture that is alot of light for 2:30 am. Where I live it is dark at that time.
    Remember the gov't can tell us what ever it wants us to hear. Propoganda?

    May 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Billy J Pringle

    Dammit, we have got to do better. When Venezuela starts building rigs that work better than the U.S.A. then you KNOW something is rotten here. Complain all you want, but regulation and regulators/inspectors are the answer. There is a point where good capitalism allows itself to be regulated, just like a good athlete listens to his coach, his doctor and the referees.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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