Workers jump from oil platform after fire, Coast Guard says

A fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico overnight - four people were rescued.

NEW ORLEANS – Four oil platform workers have been transported to Terrebonne General Hospital after jumping from an oil production platform where they were working early Thursday morning.

The United States Coast Guard responded to the fire around 2:30 a.m. at a platform about 80 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. 

According to Coast Guard Petty Officer Lora Ratliff, four people were aboard the platform who evacuated into the water and were recovered by the offshore supply vessel Mary Wyatt Milano.

There were no reported injuries and no reports of any pollution.

The Crew of Mary Wyatt Milano and three other offshore supply vessels were called in to fight the fire, which was reported to be extinguished around 6:15 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

Renaissance Offshore is a relatively new company out of Houston, formed in 2011. They buy up established oil fields and platforms, like this one off Grand Isle.

Platform A is connected to 10 wells and that’s where the fire occurred. The company has also shut in seven wells connected to the Platform B that’s right next to Platform A in the offshore area called Ship Shoal Block Number 266. It's in only 180 feet of water and the platforms have been producing oil there since 1968.

Platform A was still producing about 16,000 barrels of oil per month, but they had some problems there last year. The annual inspection by the federal offshore safety agency found eight mechanical or safety components on the platform that had to be shut-in because of compliance issues.

It's important to point out that Renaissance Offshore bought 10 oil fields from Black Elk Energy in 2013 and 2014 after a major explosion killed three workers on a Black Elk platform and basically forced that company to stop operating in the Gulf.

WWL-TV received this statement from Oliver Marsh, a spokesman for Renaissance Offshore:

"Initial efforts were made by the crew to extinguish the fire, however the decision was made to discontinue those efforts and abandon the platform due to heavy smoke.  All four crew members onboard safely evacuated from the platform aboard a life raft and were recovered by a field vessel that had been dispatched to the location.  The crew was safely evacuated to a nearby facility and will be transferred onshore for a full evaluation.  The fire was completely extinguished at approximately 5:50 a.m." 

The cause of the incident is under investigation. 


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