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. Tessa Heflin

    I would like to say to all the ppl out there talkin crap about offshore drilling "get on ur knees and pray!" That's what these men and their families need right now! Not ppol talking crap about what they do! Think about that next time u fill up ur vehicle to goto ur job! Some of us need these joibs bc they support our families! So unless u all plan on supporting my family then just hush and PRAY!!!!

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

    Owned by another Houston oil company. Louisiana is a slave colony owned by Texans.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tired of all the HYPOCRITES

    First, to all: As you can read, not much information is available at this point. Second: I am hoping for the best outcome regarding the missing soul, and also hope the other 12 are not badly injured. Finally: Give me a break. Stop the oil addiction? Really? All of you who say that, and to all of you who are on here to bash the idea of drilling, period, you're a bunch of hypocrites. Until you give up your precious cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, lawnmowers, tractors (the list goes on), and just about anything made with plastic, you really have no place to be damning the use of oil, or crying about the drilling for oil. You are as much part of the problem/addiction as any of us. So, please,... enough with all the sarcasm, name calling and hate. If you hate oil so much, then put your minds to better use and help figure out alternative solutions... otherwise, shut up and continue to enjoy your all the oil sucking, oil produced things I'm SURE you have in your possession.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryce

      Very good points. However, the validity of the argument to reduce oil consumption isn't wrong just because we continue to drive our 'gas guzzlers'. It is still one of the most important issues facing our society and the future of oil exploration and drilling ie ANWR needs to be looked at very seriously. The best way to reduce consumption and demand is by cutting the supply which would obviously raise prices... we really up for that?

      September 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jusme

      oh, you mean like the PC's (and keyboards and phones and Ipads, etc) we are all typing on????

      geeez couldn't sometime something happen without everyone going psycho about politics???

      September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. offshore worker

    get your facts straightt before you scare the world....rigs will have a minimum of about 60 people, even if it's a small workover rig. 13 people, in itself says that it is not a rig, but a production platrform. Please start telling facts instead of making it as dramatic as possible to up your ratings and sell more hemeroid cream.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Coherent1

    Umph! To whom do we apologize now?

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

    It was a natural gas rig not oil. Get your facts straight CNN.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DonnaLou W.

    i just wanna know whos in charge so i no whos ass to kick! GOD!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bryce

    Is this some sort of sick joke? Unbelievable. Imagine what kind of mess ANWR would be. The Oil lobby needs to be put in check and these companies need strict regulation and oversight.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. EatRunDive

    So this is how it is, huh? No one at CNN has an internet correction to verify information? The fire is located at VERMILLION BLOCK 380, and the block is 100% owned by Mariner. After a full summer to learn about the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico, CNN still hasn't learned squat!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Randall

    "Don't worry, there will be no more accidents" Cordially, the Oil Companies....

    September 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rick from LA

    Can we call up the judge that order the blocked the dilling moratorium and say " Hey dumb &^% we told you so!!"

    Obama was freaking right, the oil industry was wrong, hopefully the fail safes worked on this platform.

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

    Drilling ISN'T safe. That's the nature of the beast. But it must go on. Our economy depends on it. Maybe all you people who are against it should start walking or riding bicycles everywhere in protest. And while you're at it, go live in a cave somewhere and don't use any energy. Most of the products you use day to day are petroleum based. Natural gas is also drilled for. Until you people are ready to recognize that, stop whining.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • knucklehead

      Everyone realizes that. But the time is now to start finding alternatives while we continue to use oil. There's lots can be done. Only 10% of plastic bottles are recycled. Energy R&D is too low. True we can't just stop using oil but incentives and initiatives need to be put into place so we can transition away from it, starting now. The status quo isn't a viable option, either. It only puts off the inevitable.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rob Venus

    HMMMMM... I wonder what "Forest Ethics" has got to say about THIS. Probably nothing since they barely mentioned BP. Yet feel obliged to slander other countries industries and quote major companies out of context.

    Aside from the soapbox... I sincerely hope all involved will make it back to their familes safe and sound; and the enviromental impact is minimal. Take care of each other – fellow oilmen and women.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. 688guy

    Spill baby, spill...sigh...

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

    Oh yeah, let’s just throw our hands up in the air and give up! Way to go Manicore!!

    Does anybody think this is just one gigantic coincidence? This is just a little bit too convenient for me to believe that. If only the GOVERNMENT agency that is responsible for performing the safety inspections would actually DO THEIR JOB RIGHT in the first place, the whole deep water horizon thing would probably not have happened. Couple that with corporate greed and the fact that the "bottom line" takes precedence over the safety and the lives of those people who live on the gulf trying to make a living and the guys who actually lived and worked on these rigs. Ultimately they pay the highest price of all by giving up their lives because they naively trusted the company they worked for to do whatever is necessary for them to work in a safe environment. They also believe the GOVERNMENT actually gives a crap about their safety and well being too. What a joke!!!! GOVERNMENT Safety Inspectors are more interested in getting their pockets lined with cash so they will look the other way when safety violations are found regardless of how serious they are. Then the company either buries the information so deep it's hard to find it, or they spend the absolute least amount of money they can spend only to put a bandaide on the problem instead of actually paying to fix the problem. The fact that GOVERNMENT officials can be bought is a large part of the problem with rigs in the gulf. PB should have been shut down when their plant exploded in Texas City and lives were lost. They have consistently had a dismal safety record at best. All for the sake of putting a few more bucks in the pockets of people whose only concern is about how to get more money. They disgust me! I'm interested in seeing how long Obama sit's on his ass and does nothing this time.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
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