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. nonya

    "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,"

    President's agenda modified:
    1) Play more golf
    2) Go on another vacation
    3) Curtail cleanup efforts
    4) Blame Bush

    September 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jdoggers have shown yourself to be a complete moron. Your inability to think for yourself, and lack of intelligence shines through in your comments. I especially liked the part in your comments about the "president's agenda modified" where you say he plays golf, and "curtails the cleanup response". The fact is that george bush and many other presidents took vacations and played golf. Secondly, we wouldn't even have a oil spill to clean up if it weren't for george bush eliminating safety regulations on oil rigs when he signed the SAFE act of 2001 (HR4) into law. This is the same stupid argument I hear republicans wanting to argue about the "surge in Iraq working", when if george bush didn't make a horrible decision to go into Iraq in the first place, we wouldn't have ever needed any surge in Iraq at all because we wouldn't have even been in a war there. This is the common twisted logic I always hear from idiots like you on the right.

      Seriously, you look like a complete fool. I really cannot believe there are people as stupid as you in this country. It makes me really question our future and our children's future to think that people like you would ever be in charge of making any important decisions in this country.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Debbie

    I can't wait to see how the right spins this one as Obama's fault!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • nonya

      "I can't wait to see how the right spins this one as Obama's fault!!!"

      I can't wait to see how surprised the Left, who tirelessly blamed everything that happened during the Bush Administration on Bush, will be should they be recipients of their own medicine!

      September 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob Sachawe

    Lets reelect Bush, so we don't have as many oil spills!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. woe-is-me

    Hey maybe there after the insurance money for the rig to recoup some of their loss from the other explosion??? It could be green terrorist dolphins that have learned how to cause oil rigs to explode and they are acting out for our mother earth.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jean


    September 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bodore

    Given the reports rigth now, this could be nothing more than a galley fire that got out of hand or someone smoking in their state room catching their mattress on fire. The report of an "explosion" by CNN and the associations made to the Deepwater Horizon explosion seems a little irresponsible. They need to keep in mind the sensationalist reaction by many people watching their programming and the effect this reporting may have on the offshore industry in the gulf and those of us whose livelyhoods depend on it.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Harry

    Looks like Obama had a good reason to suspend all oil drilling in the Gulf. Guess if the Republican's hadn't cried like little babies then this wouldn't have happened.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mohammad

    It is the will of Allah to bring down the infidels by their own hands.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Me

    Just in time to raise the gas prices for the holiday weekend travels!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dr. Annika vanHooven

    Alright, this was a Gulf Co. platfrorm that blew, not BP, and not an offshore rig. My question is; was this rig also built by Halliburton?
    The BP rig was built by Halliburton, and I would like to know when the law suits against them will start. In my opinion, BP suing Halliburton is the only way BP can remain solvent.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • luperculus

      Dr Annika, there is already plenty of misinformation, please do not add to it... The "BP rig" did not belong to BP, it belonged to a company called Transocean. BP was only leasing it, the same way you would lease a car from Herz or Avis. Halliburton had nothing to do with "building the rig", as Halliburton is not in that business. The rig was built in the Far East, as most rigs are these days, on behalf of Transocean. Halliburton only did part of the work related to the drilling of the Macondo well.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. qwerty allstar

    BS!!!!!! this smells like foul play. Good time for another rig explosion to put more dirt on the current presidents hands. Look, im neither repub or dem, but this has been the shadiest time frame between both parties

    September 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nancy Grace

    Breaking News...Tony Hayward previously with BP, is now the CEO of Mariner Energy...Unleash the Laywers....

    September 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wudpeka

    Incandescent light bulb, internal combustion engine are 19th century technology. We have only just moved on past the energy consuming cathode ray tube. Do you all believe that we need to consume energy the way that we do? Alternative energy will be available only when the ruling class decides that they have sucked all the money that they can get out of what we have now.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jonny

    Why not make another "anti-oil sands add" to take the heat off this one too!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. weallfloatdownhere

    Don't like it? THEN STOP DRIVING YOUR DAMN GAS GUZZLING SUVS, MINIVANS AND THE LIKE!!!! Only YOU can prevent forest/oil rig/ fires!! won't so we can ALL take the blame!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
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