Sheen Spotted Near Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig Fire

The US Coast Guard said a mile-long “sheen” has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico near the area where an oil platform caught fire this morning. According to USA Today, Mariner Energy, which owns the platform, has reported that oil has spilled into water, but it not known where it is coming from, as the well was not producing at the time of the fire.

The rig, known as the Vermillion 380 production platform, sets in 340 feet of water about 90 miles south of Vermillion Bay, off the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and is located just west of where BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded this past April. The fire was reported around 9:30 a.m. local time.

Initial reports called the incident an explosion, but Mariner is now reporting that the
fire started at one of the platform’s seven active wells. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said during a briefing this afternoon that all seven wells have been closed off and that what is burning now is from fuel in storage, and not from an active leak.

Thirteen workers aboard the platform at the time have been accounted for. One injury was reported earlier today, but Mariner is disputing that. According to the Coast Guard, all of the workers will be taken to Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma, Louisiana to be checked out.

The fire aboard the rig continues to burn. Houston-based Mariner Energy has deployed three firefighting vessels to the site and one already was in place fighting the blaze. The fire is said to be contained.

During his briefing today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the federal government has “assets ready” to respond to any environmental problems resulting from the fire on the platform.

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