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. Barack

    Why is it Obama's fault?! All you Obama lovers, "ohh poor Barack didn't have anything to do with it! Why blame him?!" He wanted offshore drilling. He's to blame

    September 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. stan

    ok, surely there must be SOME way we can blame this on BP!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. james

    Got to love the freedom of speech and living in America….

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Translation

    Get on your knees and bend over, Louisiana! We're not done with you just yet! Ha ha ha!!!! - Texas

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mel


    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ummec

    PALIN quick read your PALM what should we do????????

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ricky

    This particular rig does not drill for oil. The risk of an oil spill here seems minimal.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A Different John

    That moratorium is looking like a pretty good idea now isn't it?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Curt

    As the oil loving Republicans would say 'All in the name of progress"

    September 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NICK

    Here we go once again. Let me put another quarter in the conspiracy merry-go-round.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JJ

    Imagine that, And so quick to step up for a media shot. We have such a tv savy prez. To bad he is just a wanta be movie star with nothing real to back up his words! Maybe he did it; had his cronies blow somethingup, for a political stunt to make him look good. ROFL I wouldnt put it past him, hiis numbers have been dropping. :0)

    September 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Just more of what we'll see since the "easy oil" has been gotten.
    It's not going to get better, sad to say.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TL

    Drilling should continue at any cost; nothing should ever out-weight the opportunity to earn money, people livelyhoods are @ STAKE. Mother nature can recover from anything therefore we should only be concerned about making the money necessary to keep families, businesses, and job afloat; people and nature can and will be replaced.

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

      Mother nature can recover from anything? Who told you that? The bible? Sheesh...

      September 2, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    Here we go again

    September 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dori

    the timing of this seems very odd???? Is this terrorism

    September 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
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