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. Brian

    We need Iron Fist regulation of these companies. This is the result of the lax Bush/Cheney "business will regulate themselves" crap.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. taterthecat

    al Qaida ????

    September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      No, an even worse form of terrorist: oil companies!
      "Drill, baby, drill!" = "Boom, baby, boom!"

      September 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris @WebMindSet

    Absolutely ridiculous. Had enough America? How about a little sustainability with your Hemi...
    To my fellow US Green Building Council LEED AP's, let's stay at it.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CTguy

    First of all, this was a fixed platform, not a rig. We'll wait to see what comes out of it, but this apparenlty was a production issue with a pipeline rupturing, NOT a well control issue. There are many different facets to oilfield operations, and although we are all equally viewed by the rest of the country as evil people in an evil industry, there is a very big difference between the operations that caused the BP incident, and this one. I guess it's all the more reason to attack the industry as a whole though, so we'll see. Maybe the WH will now shut down drilling and production in both the deepwater and shelf... that would be really solid for our economy down here in the Gulf region...

    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |

      if we had more regulations to insure the safety of these platforms,and to insure that as soon as accidents happen we would have some type of contigency plan for every possible accident,then i would have no problem in supporting you..
      But,u nuts get your rich cronies to lead the dumb less educated ones in the tea party to overlook that these people,like the becks,hannity's,and limbaughs are millionaires and get their tax cuts,and the lessor poorer nuts don't!!

      September 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nick

    Don't let it bring you down, it's only oil rigs burning.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carrotroot

    Not again. This definitely vindicates administration's drilling moratorium which the GOP have been denouncing. These rigs are not safe! The moratorium must stand!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nikki ruiz


    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. In the middle

    You right wing and left wing nuts, there are millions of us laughing at how stupid you guys are. Keep it up, hours of entertainment.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom

    I'm ready for some affordable, safe, clean, sustainable energy. Come on America, I know we can do what the oil and gas cheerleaders say we can't.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. joe

    Anybody comparing an oil rig/platform explosion to a mining cave-in is an idiot. There are huge environment consequences from an exploded oil rig but not from a cave-in.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • key typer

      LOL, yeah it just all those annoying funerals and pesky crying mourners. Good grief!
      Failing to safely sustain safe working infrastructure for our energy needs and other vitals IS NOT optional in any economy. It's time to address this. Would you be so complacent if a mine caved in that supplies the materials for making pcs and the prices suddenly jumped ten-fold b/c of it? If you only want to look at it from a pure logic angle, fine. Think how much it will cost us to repair these things ten years from now. Even evaluating them takes time and money. If an industry decides it doesn't want to bother with safety protocols, regulations or the like and are greasing pols palms to get their way, we end up paying for it, one way or another. Even if this was just an unfortunate unavoidable accident, it seems like making sure that was the case would be prudent. Even industry bean-counters will tell their employers when to invest in upgrades before things become unscalable. Let's get behind some real action on this stuff instead of just giving it a passing bow of the head and hoping some higher power intervenes. Start questioning where industry and government money goes for safety, inspections and upgrades. Even alternative energy endeavors will need heavy oversight to insure the best return on investment of money and time.
      I cannot believe I have to have this conversation.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Justin

    Stupid is as stupid does. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me again, shame on me... or whatever airhead Bush once said. BAN OFFSHORE DRILLING!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. diesel2u

    BP all over again?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. brandi

    ok everyone that is against offshore drilling can 90 percent of the workers families move in with yall since you want them to lose there jobs. make room treehuggers build alot of extra rooms on to your house. plus build a barn and stable make ready your lanterns. lose your internet and electronic devices. everything in this country depends on oil. whether it be to transport goods or heat your homes. oil is just a neccessary evil just like money

    September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LookandSEE

    Don't get too comfortable, oil lover!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eeek!

    This is a conspiracy by the Oil spill cleanup industry!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55