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. connie

    If I recall our dear federal gov't had all the wells inspected after BP incident

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JeeperJoe

    If it's leaking they should send Monica Lewinsky down there to see if she has any ideas

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dev

    THe April oil spill created such a profitablie industry....did you reallly think they would disband that easily??? I called it a few months ago saying that there would likely be more wrecks in coming months...simply by deducing that the ones in control of the cleanup industry now have a taste for money....not the environment. Ka–ching....$$$$$$$$$$....sad day.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob from Brideport

    My son maybe on that rig. I have not heard anything yet. I die everytime i hear something giong wrong on those floating disasters. Hell of a way to make a living. I pray that he is alright!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |

      So sorry. Hope he is safe!

      September 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. billy bob joe bob harrison the III


    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    Its just another environmentalist nut job like the one yesterday @ discovery HQ they prob. tried to blow up the rig to stop off shore drilling. Keep Drilling

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TJ

    Here is its location

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David

    I will take any available job working on one of those oil rigs right now please....
    I have been out of work and looking or over a year now... they make great money....
    Please hire me.... college degree, worked years in IT and also taught high school biology....
    Walmat won't hire me because they know I will leave when I can find something better....
    No one else is hiring ....

    September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua

      I'm with you man. Veteran with a masters degree and been unable to find work for six months. Its tough out there.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chicagoan

    It was probably another Al Gore Sycophant. Crazy lefties.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Shannon

    Lest face it – the oil industry is a way of life. I think we need to hold people accountable for their actions rather than blaming an entire industry for the failure of a few. Oil provides us with many necessaties of daily life.

    We do need more renewable energy but when I flip my light switch at home, I actually expect there to be light. Renewable energy cannot currently provide this because there is a storage issue. If the storage issue is solved there is still not an ecomonic case for a full renewable profile – it only makes gas, oil and coal fired generation more economic. Renewable energy is part of the solution but not the whole thing.

    We need intelligent discussion which takes into consideration REAL economic, financial and enviromental analysis before we decide to wholly dismiss anything.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joshua

    This has got to be a bad joke. How many are going to have to blow before we give up on fossil fuels and turn whole-heartedly toward a Clean Energy Economy.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. flip

    Drill baby, Dri.. OH Crap! (BOOM)

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CallingBS


    It bemuses me that oil rigs never exploded under the Bush administration. It's only happening under the Obama administration, and anyone with a clue knows what his administration's agenda is vis-a-vis offshore drilling. Superficially, it seems that nefarious forces are at work here to make a point about offshore drilling.

    That sounds more like the crap that got us thrust into Iraq, where we should never have gone. Also bungled into Afghanistan, where they were originally under-maned. The mess we have now is not something that was done or caused in the last 300 days. YOU ALL KNOW IT...suck it up Repubs are greedy, selfish, coniving people. They only think as far as the botom line...heaven help this country if they get in power anytime soon.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. name

    oil drilling has inherent risks associated with it.. its a multi billion dollar industry, so not one to go away overnight... But, all the safety policies in the world aren't going to guarantee these kinds of things will never happen..

    we need a more reliable and efficient form of energy now, where accidents are orders of magnitude lower and not harmful to the environment

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. OmNomNom

    Greattttt, here we go again (potentially).

    September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
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