Offshore Platform Worker Tragically Killed, Another Missing in Separate Gulf of Mexico Accidents
The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is investigating two serious offshore platform accidents in the Gulf of Mexico, including one that tragically killed a worker and another that left a man missing.
In both cases, the workers fells through an opening in the platform decking. The BSEE has already issued a Safety Alert to offshore operators with recommendations aimed at avoiding similar incidents.
Worker Missing in Renaissance Offshore Platform Accident
The first accident occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m. on May 29th, when a 54-year-old man fell into the water from Renaissance Offshore’s Eugene Island 331 platform, located roughly 75 miles off the coast of Vermillion, Louisiana.
According to the Bureau, the nighttime production engineer was seen performing rounds aboard the rig just before he vanished.
“The personnel onboard noticed a section of grating displaced in the upright position with the missing person’s hardhat and clipboard next to the grating in the wellbay deck. The open hole measured approximately 93-inches long by 13-1/2 inches wide and was approximately 45 feet [13.7 meters] to the water’s surface,” the Bureau said in its June 4th Safety Alert. “Preliminary information indicates that prior to the incident the wellbay deck area was taped off with red “DANGER” tape, but the area was not hard barricaded to prevent the flow of personnel.”
The U.S. Coast Guard deployed 21 assets to the offshore platform accident and searched more than 3,700 square miles before calling off the 56-hour rescue and recovery mission.
Unfortunately, the worker remains missing.
Chevron Offshore Worker Fell 90 Feet to His Death
Just days later, another man fell through an open hole aboard Chevron’s Green Canyon Block 205, Platform “A”, roughly 150 miles from New Orleans.
The June 1st incident occurred around 11:00 p.m., shortly after a wireline crew completed work on a well located on the drill deck. Two employees inadvertently picked up the wrong cover while attempting to replace the well hatch cover.
“Each employee grabbed one handle of the cover, which was the same color as the deck and had no well identifying information on it,” the BSEE stated. “This action unknowingly created an open hole; and as the employees moved the hatch, one of the employees stepped and fell through the hole to the deck below – approximately 90 feet.”
Sadly, the unidentified worker died from injuries sustained in the Chevron offshore platform accident.
BSEE Panels to Investigate Recent Gulf of Mexico Drilling Accidents
The BSEE has apparently established separate panels to investigate these incidents.
Each includes a team of BSEE investigators, inspectors, and engineers. In addition to analyzing all relevant forensic evidence, they will work closely with the Coast Guard to review information obtained through interviews with offshore operators, workers, witnesses, and subject matter experts.
“These Panel Investigations are critical in ensuring BSEE determines the cause, or causes, of the incidents and develops recommendations for the offshore energy industry,” said Lars Herbs, the Bureau’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Director.
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