Aban Pearl semisub drilling rig sinks offshore Venezuela, Chavez reports via Twitter

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The Aban Pearl semisubmersible drilling rig has sunk offshore Venezuela. The accident forced all 95 rig workers to evacuate, but no one has died.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reported the incident, interestingly enough, from his Blackberry via social networking site Twitter.

In his post, Chavez wrote (translated): “I regret to inform you that the Aban Pearl natural gas drilling platform has sunk minutes ago. The good news is that the 95 workers have been saved.”

An hour later, the Venezuelan head reassured the public that there is not an environmental threat, concluding with “Viva Venezuela!!!”

The Aban Pearl is a semisubmersible drilling rig with a rating to drill up to 25,000 feet deep in waters measuring 1,250 feet deep. The rig was constructed in 1977 and is a Aker H-3, twin hull column stabilized design with a DNV class rating.

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