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. Ben

    Not again!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. ARC

    Sounds 9-11 fishy!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marion

    What ever happened to safety?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jdoggers

      What happened to safety? It is called hurricane george bush. Safety for the oil industry went out the window during his administration. I mean what do people expect when you have a guy who used to be on the board of directors for halliburton as vice president. Of course he is going to let them break the law in order to make record profits. George bush was the biggest mistake our country ever made. Thanks a lot republicans...good work yet again!

      September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ivan Libya

    You've got to be f'ing kidding me? Maybe NOW we can focus on clean energy instead of oil?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mr.S

    This sounds like sabotage, is this a terrorist plot? Was the first BP rig an attack made to look like an accident? Hmmmm. Or is this really coincidence?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I completely agree. This is too much of a coincidence. Like Nonnie said:

      "So we have 16 years without a rig accident under Clinton and Bush. Now with Obama in charge we have two in 6 months and the latest one comes the day after the drilling ban gets shot down in Federal Court. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but if it happens a third time, I'm going to say it is enemy action."

      September 2, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Rasband

      I challenge CNN to take on discussing the topic of this being a strage coincidence, possibly terrorism.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. urfellowman

    Where are all the GOP'ers yelling "Drill baby drill!" now?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Johna

      How about an independant. If you are so naive that you think we can stop drilling for oil at this point, you need to get off your computer. I beleive we all want to see us move away from oil but that isn't possible for YEARS to come. Your PC, your phone , many things you use in your house on a daily basis, your heating and cooling and your car all come from oil production. MOST of which we know buy from countries that hate us.

      As a country we should have been developing renewable energy sources 50 years ago but even if we had, we would still be using oil products.

      Grow up.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dawayne Mosier

    Is it just me or does this not seem like a coincidence?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. 1jimmyhoffa

    convenient right beofe labor day weekend, lets get those fuel prices up.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • QueenZola

      Eh, they would have hiked the prices up anyway. This just gives them a convenient excuse.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |


    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • urfellowman

      Exactly! It's a conspiracy against him and his administration! I agree!

      September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Yeah perfect timing. Now they can cram cap n tax down our throats too. Provide a diversion that polarizes the masses and meet in the dead of night and vote before anyone knows what hit them.. Gee, its Labor Day weekend too, isn't it? Extended weekend, bland news cycle? PERFECT!!

      September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • hasamana

      Gee Parrot, Were you not alive in 2001? Let's see, we had 9/11, the anthrax scare, a serial sniper in DC shooting people from his trunk. I could go on... Wierd stuff happens all the time, regardless of who is in office.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Donna

    Repulblicans do!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tess

    Really? Again? You would think, that somebody would LEARN from past mistakes!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. JoeM

    Drill baby drill? Right.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Robyn

    Not again....

    September 2, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. LOGAN

    uh oh, here we go again

    September 2, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Common Sense 101

    Oh no...not again!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
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