BSEE Responds to GOM Platform Fire, Coast Guard Suspends Search for Crewmembers

By MarEx 2012-11-19 16:10:16

Statement on Platform Fire from Director James A. Watson

“The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) began an investigation into the explosion and fire aboard a Black Elk Energy production platform offshore Louisiana. BSEE continues working very closely with the United States Coast Guard throughout the response. Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and missing and their families. BSEE is committed to determining the direct and indirect causes of the explosion and will take appropriate enforcement action."

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Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Crewmembers

BSEE Continues Investigation

The Coast Guard suspended the search for two missing crewmembers, Saturday at approximately 5:25 p.m., following a platform explosion approximately 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle.

Coast Guard crews searched a 1,400 square-mile area for more than 32 hours in an effort to locate the two missing crewmembers.

Coast Guard resources used in the search effort:

  • The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutters Pelican and Razorbill;
  • Three response boatcrews from Coast Guard Stations Grand Isle and Venice;
  • Three HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft crews and three MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala;
  • Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.

Watchstanders at the 8th Coast Guard District received notification at approximately 9 a.m. that there was a platform fire on board West Delta 32, Friday.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has established a team to investigate the explosion and fire. The seven-member investigative team includes safety inspectors, engineers, safety management investigators, and law enforcement experts; additional team members may be added as required. Witnesses will be interviewed, and documents containing the work procedures for the construction project will be reviewed. Inspection of the physical site began shortly after the explosion and will continue with collection of evidence from the platform throughout the investigation. Analysis of the information gathered will be focused on the direct and indirect causes of the incident. The investigation report will also include recommendations for initiatives to prevent a similar accident in the future.

The search is suspended pending further developments.