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Another explosion in the Gulf

Author : Amy Hollamby

07 September 2010

An explosion has occurred at an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, west of the site of BP’s huge oil spill in April. Houston-based Mariner Energy Inc, the company who owns the platform, deployed three firefighting vessels to the site. The blaze burned for hours but is now finally extinguished. Despite earlier reports there is no evidence of a visible sheen on the water. One person was injured but no one was killed in the incident.

Another explosion in the Gulf
Another explosion in the Gulf

One person was injured but no one was killed in the incident.All 13 people on the rig escaped into the water after donning survival outfits, and were later rescued. The importance of safety training and personal protective equipment is shown here as even after escaping the rig, the water itself poses many hazards, such as hypothermia. The immersion suits helped protect the workers against such hazards.

The explosion was first reported at 9:30am local time (13:30 GMT) on Thursday 3rd September and started on an upper deck of the platform where living quarters were. Automated shutoff equipment on the platform safely turned off the flow of oil and gas from the platform's seven producing wells before the fire occurred and the crew evacuated. Such safety equipment did not kick in on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, where the blowout preventer malfunctioned.

The cause of the incident is unknown, although unlike the BP disaster it was not triggered by a blowout.

At present there is no evidence of leaks but the situation will be continuously monitored to ensure this doesn’t change. However, the platform is located in shallow water (approximately 105m above the floor of the Gulf) about 100 miles south of Vermilion Bay on the central Louisiana coast and hence if a leak should occur the response would be much easier that the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The platform is about 200 miles west of BP's blown-out well. The BP-leased rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on 20th April, killing 11 people, injuring 17 others and resulted in 206 million gallons of oil being leaked. Another accident in the Gulf only four months after the Deepwater Horizon incident perhaps highlights that lessons have not been learned.

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