Another oil rig explodes

Another offshore oil rig exploded and burned in the Gulf of Mexico Sept. 2, 80 miles south of the Louisiana coast.

The Coast Guard said the explosion threw workers off the rig, into the water. The report said there was one injury and no deaths, with all 13 workers accounted for. Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel, who confirmed the injury for the press at 11:48 a.m. ET, said he did not know the extent of the worker’s injury.

The Coast Guard said it did not know whether the explosion had caused an oil leak into the Gulf. The platform is located west of the April Deepwater Horizon explosion that resulted in the massive BP oil spill.

The new explosion was first reported by a commercial helicopter flying over the site at 9 a.m. CDT.

Coast Guard Commander Cheri Ben Iesau said seven Coast Guard helicopters, two airplanes and three cutters were dispatched to the scene from New Orleans, Houston and Mobile, Ala.

Ben Iesau said a number of the workers were seen in the water in life vests.

The Department of Homeland Security said the rig, known as Vermilion Oil Platform 380, was owned by Mariner Energy of Houston. The department said it was not producing oil and gas. Vermilion is the coastal Louisiana town nearest the rig.

Mariner Energy is involved in oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig that exploded was designed to allow drilling a half mile below the surface. The Deepwater Horizon, which exploded in April, had drilled a full mile below the surface.

BP, meanwhile, has not completed the relief well it had said would permanently seal the well that started leaking after the April explosion. The company says this weekend it will begin the process of removing the cap and failed blowout preventer, a step toward completion of that project.

Photo: An oil rig platform is tossed by waves. cc 2.0



John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.