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. Myra

    And people are bugged about our oil sands in Alberta, Canada. Don't remember any explosions there, just a one-time problem with some ducks that they're working on preventing in the future.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Don-MN

    Well this should make all the conspiracy nuts and environmental nuts into a tizzy.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. T

    Is there no moderator on these comments? This is really ridiculous – several people here need to cap off their free flow of profanity and immature comments.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • key typer

      LOL, they probably hired the same guys who built the "top hat" thingy.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RELAX

    This wasnt an explosion... it wasnt even a drilling rig. It is a production platform. All wells are reported to be shut in and now everyone accounted for. The fire (NOT EXPLOSION) is topside related to routine maintenance. No evidence or indication of any spill/leak or production related blowout.

    Try a little harder to hype the nation CNN, I dare you...

    September 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. george w bush

    This is because of the lack of inspection from Obama's bums .

    American people deserve better, a job creator not a echo-terrorist threatening our energy independence!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bryan

    posting in an epic thread

    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NJ Dave

    The reason this is happening now is that under Bush, the government neglected the oil drilling industry and now all the problems that developed over that time period are finally catching up with us. Unfortunately, the lack of oversight=neglect. So, yes Obama needs to fix this problem now.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      NJ Dave, what about Clinton? was he on top of the oil companies? Or did we just start allowing oil drilling under Bush? haha

      September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jj20091991

      kevin... acually there was a ban on offshore drilling that bush lifted

      September 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    it is clear that Bush was behind this!!!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Norm

    This is beginning to look like some kind of new terrorist operation.
    Either than or the media is doing it to create headlines.
    More likely that God is trying to tell us something.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GlenBeck

    This just goes to show that we need the government to stay out of our lives. This overregulation is socialism pure and simple. If we let the free market operate without hinderence of government this sort of thing would never happen. Also God hates us because we let gay people get married.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jj20091991

    well thank god only one is hurt.. also thank god the republicans think that off shore oil is not dangerous and that we dont need tougher regulations of them...clearly they are safe

    September 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tony

    80 miles out and the Coast Guard still responds. Is there a limit to the Coast Guards response radius?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 688guy

    Yeah, people ARE dumb...and the Republicans count on it...

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brittany

    This is Mariner Energy's rig. The CEO and CFO are former Enron Execs.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Maggie

    When a fireworks factory blows up, do they shut down all fireworks factories? No, the rest stay in business. And I bet the chances of a fireworks factory having an explosion is much higher than an explosion on an oil rig.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
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