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Deadliest Offshore Accidents in History

Texas Offshore Accident Lawyers | Louisiana Offshore Accident Lawyers

Workers aboard offshore drilling platforms and support vessels face harsh conditions.

Explosions, fires, falls, and even drowning are a constant threat to those employed in maritime industries.

And because these operations are usually located far from help, the death and injury toll in an offshore accident or explosion can be devastating.

In fact, many of the worst offshore accidents in history have taken dozens of lives.

Those lucky enough to have survived such a disaster are often left to cope with serious and life-altering injuries.

The Piper Alpha

Before it exploded on July 6, 1988, the Piper Alpha was one of the largest offshore oil platforms in the United Kingdom.

Located in the North Sea, the platform had been producing more than 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day since coming on line in 1976, accounting for roughly 10% of the country’s total crude production.

167 men were killed in the Piper Alpha explosion. Only 61 survived.

Nearly 40 years later, the catastrophe still stands as the worst offshore disaster in history.

Alexander L. Kielland Disaster

Located in the North Sea, roughly 235 miles from Dundee, Scotland, the semi-submersible Alexander L. Kielland platform was built to accommodate workers from the Edda oil rig.

Strong winds and 40-foot swells caused the platform to capsize in March 1980, drowning 123 crew.

Only 89 workers survived the disaster.

Seacrest Drillship Disaster

Typhoon Gay caused the Seacrest drillship to capsize in the South China Sea in November 1989.

The drillship, which had been operating in the Gulf of Thailand for Unocal, and was initially reported missing.

Crew were unable to issue a distress signal before the drillship capsized.

Only 6 crewmembers were rescued. The remaining 67 were presumed drowned.

Ocean Ranger Offshore Oil Rig

The Ocean Ranger offshore oil rig was operating in the North Sea, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, when it capsized in February 1982, killing all 84 aboard.

The disaster occurred during a storm that produced 118 mph winds and waves as high as 65 feet.

A porthole window had broken the day before the tragedy, allowing water to enter into the rig’s ballast control room.  The ballast control panel malfunctioned 2 hours later.

Glomar Java Sea Drillship

The Glomar Java Sea drillship sank in the South China Sea in October 1983, just 63 nautical miles south-west of Hainan, China.

Rescuers were only able to recover the bodies of 36 crew. The remaining 45 were presumed dead.

Tropical Storm Lex was approaching the drilling site from the east just before the vessel sank.

The crew was able to report that the ship was experiencing winds in excess of 86 mph over its bow before contact was abruptly lost.

Bohai 2 Oil Rig Disaster

The Bohai 2 oil rig capsized in the Gulf of Bohai in November 1976, killing 72 of 76 people aboard.

The rig was being towed in fierce winds when a ventilator pump broke on the platform, creating a hole that allowed the platform to flood.

The extensive flooding and severe weather conditions caused the jack-up to capsize.

A subsequent investigation determined that the crew had not received adequate training in evacuation procedures or the use of life-saving equipment.

Enchova Central Platform

The Enchova Central Platform suffered a blowout and exploded in the Campos Basin near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 1984.

42 crew were killed during the evacuation of the platform, including 36 who died when a mechanism used to lower lifeboats malfunctioned.

6 died when they jumped from the burning platform into the sea.

Another blowout struck the Enchova platform just 4 years later, in April 1988.

While the platform was severely damaged in the resulting fire, all personnel were safely evacuated.

Mumbai High North

A fire aboard the Mumbai High North offshore platform killed 22 in July 2005.

The fire ignited after high swells caused a support vessel to ram the platform.

The collision caused the rupture of one or more of the platform’s gas risers.

Escaping gas ignited, setting the platform on fire.

Usumacinta Jack-up

The Usamacinta Jack-up disaster in the Gulf of Mexico claimed 22 lives in August 2007.

The jack-up was positioned alongside the Kab-101 platform in the Bay of Campeche.

The Usamacinta collided with the platform during a storm that produced winds in excess of 80 mph and 26-foot swells.

A subsequent oil and gas leak caused several fires to break out on the platform.

21 crewmembers died during evacuation procedures. Another went missing and was presumed dead.

C.P. Baker Drilling Barge

An explosion and fire aboard the C.P. Baker drilling barge killed 22 crewmembers in June 1964.

The C.P. Baker was operating in the Gulf of Mexico when the vessel’s 260-foot long hulls suffered a blowout, allowing water to gush through open doors on the main deck.

An explosion followed, and soon the entire barge was engulfed in flames.

The vessel heeled aft for roughly 30 minutes before sinking.

The bodies of 8 crew were recovered from the Gulf of Mexico. 13 went missing and were presumed dead.

Deepwater Horizon Explosion

The Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 and sank just 2 days later.

An estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf before the Macondo well was finally capped 87 days later.

11 of the 126 crew aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig died in the explosion. Dozens of others were injured.

Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers represented 5 workers who were seriously injured aboard the Deepwater Horizon and negotiated highly favorable (and confidential) settlements on their behalf within just 18-months of filing their cases.

Were You or a Loved One Injured in Connection with an Offshore Accident or Explosion? Contact Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or Click here.

In addition to being undefeated, our Experienced Offshore Accident Attorneys have won over $1 Billion for our clients, including record-setting settlements for hundreds of people injured or tragically killed while working aboard oil rigs, natural gas drilling platforms, and support vessels off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

If you or loved one were hurt in connection with an offshore accident or explosion, call 1-888-603-3636 or click here to send us an email through our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free, and because we only work for a contingency fee, you won’t pay us anything unless we win your case.