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. Tom

    I'll take one new Camaro, two Mustangs (one 350 and one 500), a Challenger, and a one ton truck from each of our "Big Three."
    That should help fix the problem.

    More more more, we need more oil!!!

    Time to take the balme on ourselves folks!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brian

    Surely makes you wonder if the BP rig and this one were intentionally sabotaged. I wouldn't put it past the extremists on the left to do something like this in order to stop domestic oil production.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Binh

    Oh my god, another one

    September 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Corvus1

    Another one.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. david

    here we go again.something is wrong,here,if theses oil rig keep exploding.whos rig is it,bp's?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CommonCents

    Get a grip people. This was not a drilling accident. It's a production facility, not a "rig". If uninformed opinions had value, you folks would be independently wealthy.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. whiskers

    And so it begins... again...

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. wendy

    stop drilling off shore. when a mine collapses and a plane goes down it doesnt effect marine life and coastal businesses

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nostradamus

    And so it shall come to pass, that the Earth will rebel against its inhabitants, and all living things will cease to exist, for the Earth is on the rag, and there will be hell to pay.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kim

    Too much of a coincidence. Eco-terrorism comes to mind.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jlg

    People – a drilling platform has more that 13 people working on it – this is a production well. It is not BP's. but Mariner Energy out of Houston – says so in the article.
    All for other energy sources – but no one wants a nuclear power plant in their back yard... as long as there were no drilling accidents the rest of this country didn't care what happened to Louisiana or its people. Including the goverment.
    Can anyone tell me if bans were ever imposed on the following after an accident? coal mining? plane crashes? texting while driving? train derailments? car wrecks?
    I'm signing out – can't read any of this any longer!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mimi

    On Mariner Energy's website, they announce this well is not in production if that helps. They also announce that they (Mariner) are being acquired by Apache Corporation. Apache's website announces that they have just acquired some BP assets. Coincidence? Is Apache just "unlucky" with it's acquisitions, or are they doing something here to bring the price of the acquisitions down?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CajunB

    Here we go again. If it ain't one thing, it's another. Thank god no one was killed.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jack

    Disaster occurs in threes. Is this just the second in a trio?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alexander

    God hates Lousiana!

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