A fire broke out on an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico early Thursday, forcing four workers to evacuate by lifeboat before the blaze was extinguished. There were no injuries and inspectors found no sign of pollution, authorities said.
The blaze was reported about 2:30 a.m. on a platform about 80 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and was extinguished nearly four hours later, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The four workers were rescued by the crew of the 130-foot Mary Wyatt Milano, a supply vessel, the Coast Guard said. They were flown to a hospital in Houma to be evaluated, the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a statement.
The company that owns the platform, Renaissance Offshore LLC, has suspended oil production on it and a second platform it owns, the statement said, adding that 17 oil wells associated with the two platforms were similarly "shut in" before the workers were evacuated.
Company and government inspectors confirmed that no oil is leaking into the water from either the platform or the wells, said Renaissance spokesman Oliver Marsh.
"Initial efforts were made by the crew to extinguish the fire, (but) the decision was made to discontinue those efforts and abandon the platform due to heavy smoke," Marsh wrote in an email.
Crew members aboard the Mary Wyatt Milano and three other vessels battled the blaze. An HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane from Mobile, Alabama, also responded, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Travis Magee.
Clean Gulf, a nonprofit oil industry cooperative that responds to spills and provides equipment to help clean them up, was on its way to the platform Thursday.
An oil platform exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 workers. Millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf for weeks before the oil well could be capped.
Associated Press Writer Bernard McGhee in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Posted on Fri, January 6, 2017
by By JEFF MARTIN and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN