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. question man

    Instead of focusing on a band on offshore drilling, maybe we should be looking at why companies are not following proper safety procedures. I already know the answer is money, but if we start enforcing and setting higher fines maybe they will comply.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. canadiangirl

    Now do you understand why its sooooo important to have strict gov't regulations and frequent Inspections!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Steve

    For those idiots who cannot understand our depedence on oil. Take a look at this list! We use Petroleum for most everything including: vasoline (Petroleum jelly), contact lenses, clothes, lipstick, rubber, toilet seats, etc. Of course, we could go back to making soap and all of the other things we use Petroleum for out of whale blubber. Really, what a bunch of uniformed, eco-religion, propoganda loving morons!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. monika

    odd how all of these accidents keep happening in places controlled by a massive industry vehemently opposed to the policies of President Obama and the Dems, all in the runup to the midterm election.....

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Will

    I'm amazed at all of the responses that claim oil rigs never exploded until Obama took office. Oil rigs explode all the time. If you are "bemused" by the idea that there were no oil rig explosions previous to Obama, perhaps you are completely ignorant.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. curtis

    Wow – 322 replies and a lot of people arguing - do you people actually work for a living – or do you just sit around waiting for opportunities to squawk at each other?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Skms

    Looks like Oprah farted again

    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Donna

    Just wondering if anyone out there needs more aluminum foil for your hats. This is a tragedy nothing more.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harold Anderson

    Wow, I am sure glad they blocked the moritorium.

    Because off shore oil drilling is SOOOOOO SAFE!!!!!!!!!!

    Wake up people, off shore oil rigs are not safe and should be BANNED!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GREG


    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 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 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Delores Wilson

    Drilling has been done in the Gulf for years and years with no accidents, spills, etc. Lousiana supplies a very high percentaget of the US drilled oil and is a HUGE portion of that states economy and employment. It's ludicrious to say stop the off-shore drilling unless, of course, you are related to the royal family of Saudia Arabia and get your gasoline, plastics, etc. from them. I guess purchasing foreign oil for exhorbitant prices from avowed enemies of the US somehow makes sense to you. It doesn't to me.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tj

    Stop whining about drilling unless you walk or ride a horse. The Is our government behind these explosion to stop drilling

    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mo

    Ok enough is enough with these oil rigs being careless!! Shut them down until they are inspected so this crap doesn't happen again and we have another oil spill!!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    I wonder how many of the people calling for the drilling to stop, filled their cars up with gas this week...

    Something else interesting to think about...

    Growth Energy, an industry lobby group, says increasing the percentage of ethanol blended into the U.S. gasoline supply would create 136,000 jobs. But an analysis by the Environmental Working Group found that no more than 27,000 jobs would be created, and each one could cost taxpayers as much as $446,000 per year. Sure, the government can create more green jobs. But at what cost?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
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