Coast Guard rescues two workers after platform fire offshore Louisiana

By Phaedra Friend Troy

On Sunday, the US Coast Guard responded to reports of a fire on an oil production platform in the US Gulf of Mexico, rescuing two offshore workers.

The Coast Guard deployed multiple air and sea assets, including two helicopters, one aircraft and a ocean vessel, to investigate reports that a oil production platform caught fire about 50 miles offshore Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico.

A fire ignited aboard the Grand Isle Block 115 production platform, owned and operated by Arena Energy, at about 8 a.m. CST Sunday.

Two offshore workers were aboard the platform when the fire ignited, escaping the fire via an emergency life capsule. A nearby Good Samaritan vessel, the HDS Stormridge, then picked up the stranded workers.

The rescued workers were hoisted by the MH65-C rescue helicopter and crew, and then transferred to the West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero.

Operator Arena reports that the production platform has been shut-in for two weeks prior to the fire.

The fire is apparently out, and fire fighting teams hired by Arena and under the direction of CAPT Cameron Hudson are on scene to continue fire watch in case of re-ignition.

Investigators from the Bureau of Oceans and Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) visited the platform to confirm the state of the wells and platform, as well as begin investigations into the cause of the fire.

Conducting fly-overs of the area, the US Coast Guard has not observed any pollution as of yet. Nonetheless, a 1,000-yard security zone and a temporary flight restriction of 5 nautical miles have been established around the platform.

According to the company website, Arena operates more than 40 facilities on 25 different oil and gas fields in the US Gulf of Mexico. Based in The Woodlands, Texas, the company contends that in the last three years it has been the third most-active operator in the Gulf based on the number of wells drilled. 

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