Seven workers were critically injured and another 12 are still missing following a massive oil rig explosion off the Louisiana coast last night. Most of the 126 people on board were able to escape unharmed, but 12 are still “unaccounted for.” Coast guard officials have been searching the gulf waters all morning for any sign of the missing workers.
Seven seriously injured workers were airlifted to nearby hospitals. According to Katherine McNamara of the Coast Guard the rig was still burning and listing this morning.
The rig, the Deepwater Horizon, is a semisubmersible rig located about 41 miles off the Louisiana coast. The rig was under contract to BP PLC but the work was being carried out by Transocean on behalf of BP.
A BP spokesperson said their staff worked with Transocean’s drilling staff to ensure that the work was preformed to BP specifications, but that Transocean was responsible for safety aboard the rig.
With a fleet of 146 rigs, Transocean is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor. It has built up a big position in state-of-the-art rigs capable of operating in deep water and other technically challenging environments and has more than 21,000 employees world-wide. The company moved its domicile to Switzerland from the Cayman Islands in December 2008 for tax purposes and debuted on the Swiss stock exchange earlier this month.
The cause of the explosion has not been determined and will be the subject of a thorough investigation once it has been determined that it is safe to proceed with the investigation.
Here in Houston this type of accident hits very close to home. Many of my friends and family members work in the oil industry and face these types of dangers on daily basis. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those injured in the accident and I am hopeful that the Coast Guard’s search will find those who have not yet been accounted for.