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. Beo50

    George Bush here. I can't believe I pulled this one off by myself. While Cheney is busy over at the Weather Generating Station trying to steer Earl into the east coast, I managed to take out another oil rig. This time I didn't even need Rove or Palin's help. Did it all by my lonesome. he he he he he....

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Randolph

    I would say most people want to keep off shore drilling. Does everyone quit using cars because of a couple of car accidents? No, they don't. Your logic is quite flawed Manticore.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. me

    i think its got to be Bush's fault!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. AZLiberal

    Obana called for a halt for halt in deep water drilling in the Gulf. The reason to insure safety issues were being met so we do not have a repeat of the BP disaster. Everybody screamed and yelled. Ok... NOW do people understand that there are real issues out there? The powerful Oil Lobby must get a grip and everybody must understand that there are things in life that are just to dangerous to do that can kill/harm our planet. Lets move quickly to solar power and electric cars. it's cheaper to buy everybody in the US a cheap electric car then it is to fix these continued problems of oil producers as well and suport crazy leaders around the world that control oil. We could cut our trade deficit in 1/2 by switching to electric vehicles and solar power. We have the deserts and open space to advance the solution. stop oil and gas lobbisit !!!!!!!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. north72

    Good job lifting that moratorium, right-wingers.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. someonelse

    Good. I know how harsh that sounds, but one oil disaster in the area didn't seem to make much of an effect on you morons. Nobody at BP held accountable and things as usual. Hopefully, just hopefully, this makes people realize corners are being cut everywhere, Republicans are in Big Oil's pocket, and that we must do something about it.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gordy

    alright, one more time...from the top.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Megan

    Here we go again. Thanks Obama.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • annie s

      Thanks Obama? Now how the heck can you in any stretch of the imagination make this is fault? He tried to place a moratorium on deep water drilling until safety measures could be enacted. He tried to get legislation passed that would create funding and incentives for companies to work on renewal energies (which the obstructionists held up because it would cost their corporate masters a few bucks). Please, hate him if you must, but don't be totally ridiculous about it, okay?

      September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. That Guy

    I don't know what's going on here....but I'm beginning to suspect some sabatoge. Somebody want to stop offshore drilling...probably some eco nut trying to force green energy use.

    If these are two separate incidents, then there needs to be some more overhead for these rigs. I always say that to get better at something (offshore drilling), you have to perfect and advance, but geez......if you can't do it you can't do it.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Thozzmaniac

    Damn liberal treehuggers are on a campaign of domestic terrorism.
    They should be round up and shot.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Sammie55

      Time to up your dosage..

      September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Angela

    WTH? Are you kidding me? Another one? Is this one as large as Deep Water Horizon? I am praying for all of you guys on the Gulf Coast, this doesn't look good. What is going on with our planet? Is this sabotage?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Maggie

    OK, we go how many years without an oil explosion in the gulf or anywhere else (except for Exxon Valdez 20 years ago) and now we have two within 5 months. Something smell fishy to anybody, but me?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tat-2

    Seems kinda funny to me that we have gone years without any mishap and then all of a sudden 2 rigs in the basic same area get blown up.. Can anyone say Terrorist???

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. WCO

    Greenpeace to blame??

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. enufalready

    what are the chances...investigate for terrorist acts

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
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