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. bd

    humm, did anyone know the ceo of the company was the financial officer for Emron. We all no how well that company was run.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. WTHH

    I will just repeat what many of you have already (because it was my first thought) we go again! 🙁

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mrs. Halford

    who was the intellegent individual who suggested to continue off shore drilling ? looking pretty stupid now are u....

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. tim

    Probably not a terrorist attack 80 miles out to sea.... To the guy who said "nothing ever happpened uncer the bush administration" and these failures are baracks fault-seriously you need to be committed.. you are completely insane–get out of your basement and stop playing mortal combat. Check yourself're nuts! And stay away from sharp objects...

    And to say we stop off shore driling because of this– let's get the facts first and let's consider our collective usage of oil and the families who depend on drilling for their livelihood before we throw everyone under the bus.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. JJ

    I guess that moratorium on drilling Obama suggested wouldn't have been such a bad thing, if we could keep situations like this from continue to occurring.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Adam

    450 feet of water isn't deepwater. The moratorium wouldn't have covered this. Plus, the rig wasn't active. For all we know, it could've been a kitchen fire.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. 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 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. NoNoSam

    There is such a thing as 'cheaper and safer' you fool, they're just not allowed to do it becuase of the environmentalists. Look it up.

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

    There was Yes Oil to Right of me, No Oil to the Left of me and in the middle was democracy...oh wait never mind, it died.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. MP57

    I love the rationale that we need to keep drilling because "I need money"....although there is some sympathy I can't help but believe we have crossed a line of no return....and are doomed.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. toni

    we do need oil. i get that but what people DON'T get is that if we continue to ruin our ocean's by risking these oil leaks and the ocean ecosystem dies then it affects EVERY ecosystem. it will affect everyone, all animals, humans, plants, trees, etc. just stop it. work harder to find a better alternative.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Brad

    We have raised the mean temperature of the earth by one degree, so far, and we are still drilling for oil, like there is no tomorrow.
    And we claim we are "intellegent"....

    September 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. scott

    I've worked in the oil field and I know how dangerous it can be. Sure Mark we have car accidents all the time but that doesn't compare to the environmental damage that can occur from an oil explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Sure we need the oil but if the Middle East countries want to try to stick it to us, then that's fine, they also have to eat. Wonder where they get their food. US? Starve them all or as Republicans like to do, just go an invade their country again for their oil. Drill baby drill.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    Anybody wondering if these are not "accidents" and the real cause is being hidden from the public???

    September 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Doug "E" Fresh


    September 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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