Boats shoot water onto the Vermilion 380-A oil-and-gas platform Thursday. Owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy, the rig had exploded into flames in the Gulf of Mexico (map) earlier that day—135 days after the BPoil rig explosion that resulted in millions of barrels of crude being spilled into the Gulf.
The fire on the shallow-water oil rig, which sits about 80 miles (130 kilometers) off Louisiana, was extinguished Thursday afternoon, at which time the cause of the Mariner Energy oil-rig fire remained unknown.
All 13 workers on the platform had donned protective suits and taken to the water after the oil rig caught fire. About two hours later a rig-supply boat rescued the Mariner Energy employees. No serious injuries have been reported, according to the New York Times.
A press release from Mariner Energy stated that no oil leaks had been found as of Thursday afternoon. At the same time the U.S. Coast Guard, contradicting an earlier statement, reported no oily sheen around the Mariner Energy rig.
Ships douse a Mariner Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico to extinguish a fire that started early Thursday.
The fixed platform's base is 340 feet (103 meters) underwater, much shallower than the 5,000-foot (1500-meter) depth of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, a once floating rig that now rests on the Gulf seafloor after an oil rig explosion in April.
Lee Hunt, the president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, told ABC News that the Mariner Energy platform "doesn't have a drilling rig on it, it's essentially a small refinery. ... Pure oil never comes up." Rather than boring into the seafloor for oil, platforms such as the one that caught fire Thursday pump oil out of existing wells.