Content provided by AFP
Sep 2, 2010
A mile-long slick was spreading from an
oil platform ablaze in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, the Coast Guard
said, citing a report from some of the 13 rig workers who jumped
into the sea to safety.
The workers told rescue crews that the slick was about 10 feet wide
but hoped that no more oil would leak into the sea, Chief Warrant
Officer Barry Lane told AFP.
Meanwhile, the rig was still ablaze and the blast raised fresh
pollution fears as the region struggles to recover from the largest
ever maritime oil spill, caused by a similar explosion a few hundred
miles to the east.
An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed out of a deepwater
well ruptured after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling
rig exploded on April 20 some 52 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
The explosion killed 11 workers and it took nearly three months to
stem the flow of oil gushing out of the well some 5,000 feet below
The rig, owned by Texas-based Mariner Energy, was operating in about
340 feet of water, and was not drilling at the time of the
explosion, company spokesman Patrick Cassidy said.
There were seven wells producing approximately 1,400 barrels of oil
in total in about 12 million cubic feet of gas in total, he said,
"the fire appears to have been quite
a bit a ways from where the wells are."
Thursday's incident drew immediate
condemnation from environmental groups frustrated with lax oversight
of the offshore oil and gas industry.
"How many times are we going to
gamble with lives, economies and ecosystems?" John Hocevar,
Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director, told AFP.
"It's time we learn from our mistakes and go beyond oil."
Helicopters rushed to the scene of the
latest blast, some 90 miles south of Vermilion Bay in Louisiana, to
fish out workers who apparently jumped into the sea to save
"All 13 are accounted for and they
are all wearing some sort of an immersion suit that protects
them from the water," Coast Guard chief petty officer John
Edwards told MSNBC.
Nine helicopters had been dispatched to
the site, Edwards said, adding the extent of any injuries suffered
by the workers was not immediately clear.
"Right now we're focused on search
and rescue and then, ultimately, as this thing progresses we're
going to be looking into the cause," Edwards added.
Four Coast Guard cutters were also en
route to the rig.
"We will continue to gather
information as we respond, we obviously have response assets
ready for deployment, should we receive reports of pollution in
the water," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
Gibbs declined to say whether the
president believed inspections of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico was
moving fast enough in the wake of the BP disaster.
"Obviously we've had taken some, we
took a series of steps after the BP incident," Gibbs said.
"If this situation warrants, we'll
certainly update that."
The Coast Guard said in a statement that
it received a report from a nearby helicopter pilot at about 10:00
"stating that 13 people were in the
water near an oil platform on fire."
"The 13 people in the water were picked up by the OSV Crystal
Clear and taken to another platform," the Coast Guard said.
"Coast Guard helicopters are being utilized to transport the
rescued to Terrebonne General Hospital."
Oil rig explodes in Gulf of Mexico
September 3, 2010
Boats are seen
spraying water on an oil and gas platform that exploded in the Gulf
of the coast of
Louisiana on Thursday.
An oil and gas platform in the Gulf of
Mexico exploded on Thursday in an accident that recalled the worst
offshore oil spill in history, though there appeared to be no
Some agency reports, quoting the U.S. Coast Guard, said that a
mile-long oil sheen is spreading from the site off Louisiana. The
site is west of where BP's massive spill occurred.
All 13 crew members on the burning rig were evacuated to another
offshore platform, the Coast Guard said. The fire has been contained
but is not yet extinguished, it said. The crew did not suffer any
injuries, said the owner of the rig, Mariner Energy Inc.
An initial flyover showed no evidence of
hydrocarbon spilling, Mariner said.