An oil and gas platform operated by Mariner Energy burst into flames on Thursday and unleashed a mile-long oil sheen into the Gulf of Mexico, in the region’s first major offshore disaster since BP’s oil spill began in April.
All 13 crew members were rescued with no injuries from the ocean near the burning platform and were taken to another offshore platform, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The fire has been contained but is not yet extinguished.
It is not known whether the oil sheen came from the damaged platform or the well, which is in relatively shallow water at a depth of 340 feet.
The platform is located more than 90 miles south of Louisiana’s Vermilion Bay, west of BP’s ruptured Macondo well.
At the moment, the accident does not appear to be another BP-style disaster, said Raoul LeBlanc, a senior director at PFC Energy in Houston.
“If it’s an industrial accident and doesn’t involve a well,” LeBlanc explained.
The platform was undergoing maintenance and was not in active production, the U.S. Interior Department said. It was authorized to produce oil and natural gas.