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. Donna

    I really wish Bush would knock this stuff off.
    Two "explosions" in how many months? Some environmental whack-job goes off, holding a day care center hostage? How many more environmental "accidents" and acts of terrorism have to occur before someone does something about these "Whale Wars" fanatics and their violence?

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

    Here we go again

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


    After all the advances we've made in technology, and the BANG-UP job BP did in corraling the WORST OIL DISASTER IN HISTORY in a mere THREE MONTHS, it COULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN, right?

    PUTA A MORATORIUM ON ALL DRILLING, NOW! These b@st@rds can't be trusted. They don't care about the environment. They don't care about their customers. They don't even care about theiremployees. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS!

    Start making a REAL commitment to invest in wind, water, and solar technologies- the kind that have been WORKING ALL OVER THE WORLD, FOR SEVERAL CENTURIES, without any negative consequences!

    How long before we all get that? We're running out of time.

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

      BP had a plan to clean it, and Louisiana had a plan to keep it away from the shore, but that pesky president of ours was too busy traveling all over the country trying to sell his failing policies to little groups of Obama-bots to be bothered with giving the okay.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jonny

    And idiots will still support off shore drilling.

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

    Actually a fire burning up an oil rig IS POLLUTION. Air pollution. I hope there is no oil spill, and I surely hope the people are safe.

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

    Nature: 2 , Mankind: 0

    September 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Oklahoma29

    My prayers to all on the rig. I cannot believe this happened again.
    I hope everyone finally listens and stops off shore drilling until we can figure out how to do it correctly.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan M

    I bet BP blew it up.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kilroy was here

    Interesting how many people over react when disaster strikes. Let the facts come out and then base your opinions/feelings please. Fossil fuel is a fact of life, the same people who want to stop land/off shore drilling are the same people who will crab about the high cost of fuel if it does stop. Then another group of people will crab because they lost their job as a result. We all need to understand that there is cause and effect to everything "humans" do in this world. Best thing to do is hope everyone is okay, if you pray, then pray for those involved. If there someway you can help, then help. Be supportive of your fellow human beings and realize that accidents/mistakes happen, its part of life, you you can't understand that then, well oh well.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john Sonpull asteroid that might collide w/ earth, we won't be sending offshore oil drillers to stop it, right?

    on the other hand...they do seem to keep blowing up whatever they are working on so... about mixed emotions here...

    September 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Drill Alaska and Beyond

    We don't need a moratorium on off shore drilling, but we do need some sort of regulatory agency like we have in Nuclear with the NRC. Call it the ORC or whatever. We get inspected seven ways to Sunday on safety and procedural compliance, and so should they! I also believe we should allow unlimited drilling in Alaska, and anywhere else there is known land oil reserves. That would alleviate some of the pressure on the off shore rig operators to produce more than they safely can, bypassing safety protocols and neglecting equipment.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jdoggers

      yeah, we don't need another drilling moratorium. I mean, being that the republican party is totally owned by oil companies and large corporations, why would we ever want to do anything that gets in the way of their record profits? Then we wouldn't have any more of those tea party rallies where big corporations pay for people who aren't even citizens of the state the rally is in and bus and fly them in to make the rally look larger than it really was.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    Okay, where's that judge that banned the moratorium on drilling in that region yoday? Sounds like President Obama was right yet again!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. Phil

    Yeah, President Obama is totally blowing up wells to get more support for his energy policies. Just like his parents hatched this elaborate plot involving the governments of Kenya/Indonesia and HawaiiI, the hospital in Hawaii, and two newspapers in Hawaii to ensure his U.S. citizenship. I hated the Bush administration, but even I think the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are nutjobs.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. billy bob joe bob harrison the III


    September 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
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