An oil platform with 26 workers aboard exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion resulted in the death of at least two men with two additional men missing. Eleven workers were reportedly taken to the hospital, some of whom are in critical condition.
The explosion involved an oil platform, operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy company, located approximately 20 miles south of Grand Isle Louisiana.
This explosion comes at a time when oil giant BP just reached a plea settlement (on Wednesday), accepting guilt in the deaths of 11 oil workers and agreeing to pay $4,500,000,000 in penalties, following a catastrophic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010, leading to one of the U.S.'s worst environmental disasters.
Although many news account refer to the Black Elk platform as a "rig," the explosion did not involve a drilling rig like the infamous Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. This incident involves a fixed production platform.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. government documented 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries and 858 fires and explosions on offshore rigs situated in the Gulf of Mexico. These type of accidents often fall within maritime jurisdiction and involves issues of law pertaining to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the law of Louisiana, and the General Maritime Law.
Black Elk has not issued a statement yet, and the Coast Guard is still gathering initial data, including an exact number of those injured, killed, or missing.
Photo credit: Pamela Garrie Kibodeaux / KATC