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. JJ

    We absolutely cannot let the republicans back into the congress. They will destroy the world.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    Deliberate? Probably. Just looked at Vermillion stats and saw revenues, taxes, gains, etc. Has been on the downfall since 2008. Most, if not all, tragedies since "terrorists" hit our country on 9/11 have been for monetary gain, from Iraq to Afghanistan, to BP, to this. Between our government and big business corporations, they are money hungry idiots.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Come ON

    All the tree huggers out there. So you are saying since there was another accident in the Gulf we should stop drilling? I saw three wrecks this morning on the way to work, we should stop driving on free ways and walk to work?

    Stop drilling would mean to stop life as we know it. EVERYTHING is a product of hydro carbons! Your shirt, shoes, computer you are typing on. Hydro carbons played a role in the process of making it a product.

    Stop singing the same old tune.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. rka

    one word – terrorism. Could be anyone... an enviromental jihadist or just your run-of-the-mill jihadist.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Michael1959

    Obama at a press conference " It was Bush again".

    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    Please tell me this is a sick, sick, joke... right? It is right? Ugh.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe Bivens


    September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Theresa

    Don't need the sarcastic comments as they really don't help the situation, Let's just pray for the workers and families that have gotten injuried in today's horrible accident!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. cburs

    ANWAR looks a lot better now, huh? At least it is on land and surrounded by a containment pond....but why would we want to do something easy and sensible??

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. ConspiracyTheory

    Ok – for those of you who think Obama is blowing up oil rigs, then you must also believe that Bush and Cheney blew up the WTC. Stupid idiots.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gene

    Well, accidents happen, and in some cases they are nearly identical. Whats there to do? I say adjust, but dont make assumptions and just stop what you were doing.
    Here is example, near identical accident on Staten Island Ferry.. involving the actual same ferry twice.
    But wait, ferries are still operating on schedule.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • key typer

      I agree that accidents are accidents, however there is nothing wrong with trying to prevent a disaster. I see miners trapped in the earth, rig workers having to dodge explosions, trains crashing, natural gas pipes exposed to violent weather and I wonder why the hell we aren't taking better care of our energy infrastructure. Are the people who work for these industries expendable?? We seem to be slowly ticking back to the age of the industrial revolution in the way we as consumers view these folks and turn a blind eye to abuses. Are we sure we can sully the environment beyond the point of recovery? Why? Why are we so dead set against simply innovating alternatives (even at a slow pace) and fighting every step toward conservation? Why the mad rush for every drop of oil now? I really want to know.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sammie55

    LOL.. here come the conspiracy theorists... or the Limbonauts. I've got my tin foil hat on and I'm READY!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Darren

      good, now run head first into a wall

      September 2, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Darren

    Mission Accomplished

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. tyler24

    There are a host of reasons for why we should be aggressively moving away from drilling oil, safety and ecological reasons are only two of them. Anyone who believes that we should mindlessly continue to drill without aggressively looking for solutions to putting an end to it are just as naive as the those who believe that putting an end of drilling tomorrow is a realistic possiblility.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. IwondweIf

    Say no to the moratorium. Who needs it. LOL.. ...need to drill now. .. Drill baby drill... Gotta love the southern idiots! Obama should leave you all to your insanity... Pull the coast gaurds back and have your beloved Governor paddle his dumb ars out there... Idiots.. Let see how you all spin this one to be Obamas fault!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
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