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. Nancy Grace

    Jean Casarres weigh in.....Well Nancy what were hearing is that this platform was used as a storage facility by the Obama Administration to stockpile oil in the event there was a shortage due to the millions of gallons leaked from the previous disaster...So Jean if I understand you correctly, this oil was for Obama to use personally in the event of a shortage so he can continue to fly to various vacation destinations over the next feww months...Thats what our sources are telling us Nancy....Ok, back to you....Marybeth...weigh in...

    September 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |

    Its amazing how we all rant, rave, complain, and blame everybody and everything else EXCEPT our own selves for anything that goes on.

    I'll start by taking my part of the blame for it all... Its all my fault that BP cut corners and caused one of the most significant environmental disasters ever!!! DAMN YOU BLAKOUT!! Damn you for having a car with RUBBER tires and PLASTIC all over inside and out... Damn you for having a computer made with various petro-based stuff and the electricity its powered from, Damn you for drinking bottled water from PLASTIC bottles,... Damn you for having asphault shingles on your house (as most do)... Damn you for not wanting to just settle for driving that petro-based car on gravel roads... Used concrete and asphault to make it smooth and comfortable and not having to breathe in that lung damaging dust!! ... Damn you for not only your DEPENDANCE on petroleum products, but damn you for your LACK of TRUE desire to give up these products!! DAMN US ALL...

    Conspiracy theorists say that these disasters are created for capital gain, Obama-haters blame him and his enhancing the need for a DRILLING moratorium by "blowing" up a NON-PRODUCING production platform. For those who dont know, a production platform means that this is one that the "oil" well has BEEN drilled and very likely has natural gass and crude flow hooked up to a pipeline going to some plant hundreds of mile inland already. Hopefully non-producing is self explanatory.

    Anyway, we all say what should be said, but RARELY actually take action... Some folks just enjoy complaiinig... If we are really honest withourselves, we'd see that we are ALL to blame. We should actually try to incorporate some of the stuff we say into our own soul and then, maybe we can be effective at enacting change. Until then, its just useless talk and complaints as we follow the bell-cow to the slaughter house...

    September 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Transplant

    I'm not a paranoid type but I've lived in Louisiana for thirty yrs and nothing like this has ever happened before so, there is a feeling that I have that these things happen when the president doesn't get his way with cap and trade.
    Secondly, for all you alternative energy people, this oil debate was front and center thirty years ago and there is still no alternative that the government can tax. Also whose going to absorb the cost of conversion, you all act like oil could be replaced just because we willed it too. Take a look at Haiti they have deforestrated the country for fule. Thirty years ago everyone was up in arms over trees and population explosion, ever hear about zero population growth. This problem is multi facited, we built an interstate instead of a first rate public transportation, many people in the northeast converted from coal to oil when Carter was in, the left wants to go nillywilly into situations that we don't know the consequences of, remember the great corn fiasco, don't hear anything about corn for fule now.
    The reality is that all these people who are trying to demonize the oil industry have no viable option. I don't believe it will happen in my lifetime but we have to discontinue our dependence on foeign oil, in particular middle eastern oil, let them keep their terrorists, we have enough of our own.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. neeko

    OK. Yes, it sucks that another accident has happened. Yes, it may (or may not) affect the ecosystem AGAIN. And that really sucks. On these points, I think we can all agree.

    But lets be honest – who here is going to COMPLETELY abstain from all driving, plastic products, and other petroleum based products? You try living thru 1 week without using ANY plastic at all, or purchasing anything with plastic in it, or something which plastic played a role in its production, and you can't drive or use a city bus or subway either. You'd never make it. Everybody whines about the cars, but that's NOT the only thing petroluem is used for that we're dependant on.

    And there's a lot of comments about cars crashing and planes crashing doesn't stop those industries... to which a lot of people have said that those are not major environmental catastrophies. Aren't they? Aren't cars and trains and planes all spewing pollution into the air? Its a slower form of damage, but its just as hard on the environment long term. The oil leak was a STOPPABLE problem. It could happen again, yes, but it could also be stopped. Try stopping airplanes from flying and people from driving. Try stopping the clearcutting of the rainforest for farmland and paper products. We're surrounded by things that harm the environment, usually in a much more continuous manner than an isolated spill which was eventually contained. I'm not saying it wasn't a disaster – its just that there are SO MANY other forms of pollution that are much more prevalent in our lives that we do NOTHING about!

    The truth is America is dependant on oil, and thanks to our culture there isn't any way to break that. Not just for its products, but also for millions of jobs – from the workers on the drills, all thru the production lines, down to the products themselves. It has worked its way too deep into our culture to truly get rid of it.

    What we REALLY need is for people to be RESPONSIBLE. Tougher safety standards, tougher ENFORCEMENT of those standards, tougher penalties for failure to MEET the standards. Also, recycle products that petroluem was used to make (PLASTIC for example). Encourage alternative fuels to cut down on our use since its unlikely we can be rid of it. Make cars/trains/planes more fuel efficient, with less emisions. These are things we CAN change. Why don't we focus on those instead of things that we have very little chance of changing?

    September 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jdoggers

    Lets put it this way...drilling in deep water is not safe. There is no way to prevent a leak from occurring, and if one does happen, it may take months to stop it. The only reason that offshore drilling was opened up during the bush administration is because of profits, and the fact that dick cheney was on the board of directors of halliburton. George bush and many other republicans have gotten most of their campaign contributions from oil companies. Republicans are stupid to vote for people like this.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • luperculus

      Jdoggers, please do not add to the mountain of misinformation in this blog... Offshore drilling and production has been going on since the 1940s (actually, a bit earlier), in the Gulf of Mexico there are about 4,000 producing platforms and, at any given time, about 200-300 drilling rigs... Minor accidents (as this could turn out to be), and fires on platforms or rigs have occurred before, just like we have fires and evacuate buildings on dry land.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Arielle

    If only we put a moratorium on deep sea drilling...OH WAIT WE DID and you idiots got it revoked because of "jobs." Well screw your jobs I would like my Gulf of Mexico back.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hey You

    "The White House is ready to respond" = Operation Photo Op is in stand-by mode.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • luperculus

      Hey you...

      Photo OP? You mean like "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"?

      September 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dr. Annika vanHooven

    I do wonder if one of the Halliburton built rigs on the North Slope had a similar catastrophe, would the "bimbo" Sarah Palin feel differently?
    Incidentally, my apologies to all bimbos who were offended by my remark. They don't watch news or read anyway.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ms. C

    May the american people wake up out of there anesthetized day to day living and realize this is much bigger than we know. For all the idiots who blame the President for need prayer.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Akaline Battery

    For goodness sake. They just changed the CEO out. Now they'll have to get another one. Maybe switch back to a fine British Gent.
    Imagine the interior design cost for the company for this office!
    Oh yeah the whole oil platform thing is bad for them too!
    Stick to bad teeth BP!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WATER


    September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim atmadison

    "Berms!" Jindal cried. "And send more of those great big oversize Stimulus checks for me to photo-op with!"

    September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BikeToWork

    Thanks everyone. These posts are freaking hilarious. If this is a true snapshot of our culture, it immediately stops being funny however.

    I love how 24 hour news has warped our brains to make EVERYTHING political. I swear, idiocy will take down humanity, not our leaders. Let's not forget who put them there in the first place.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nate

    The difference between mine/plane/car disaster is this: No environmental effect.
    You have to say that oil rigs blowing/ships grounding are the same as 3 Mile Island. Anyone here old enough to remember that? What did it do to our desire and political will to keep churning plants out...

    September 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Toots Maytal

    I'm shocked by the news. The story is nascent, the public knows few details. There are survivors of this disaster, let's wait to hear their eye-witness account of this mess before offering our opinions.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
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