Philippines defends Black Elk rig workers

Nov. 30, 2012 at 6:11 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
Sign up for our Energy newsletter

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Workers on the Black Elk Energy rig that caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico this month weren't to blame for the accident, the Philippines government said.

The Philippines' Embassy to the United States confirmed 28-year-old Jerome Malagapo was the third confirmed death from the Black Elk incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

Workers on the platform reportedly set off the fire while cutting into a pipeline that contained oil. The rig wasn't in service at the time and no visible sheen was associated with the accident.

The embassy said claims rig workers cut through the pipeline with a torch were incorrect. Ambassador Jose Cuisia said the nine Filipinos on the platform at the time of the Nov. 16 incident wouldn't have been there had they lacked proper training.

"These men also have extensive experience in the oil and gas industry abroad and with such giants as Shell, Chevron and British Petroleum," he said in a statement.

The embassy said two workers were listed in critical condition at a hospital burn unit in Baton Rouge, La.

Investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have started an investigation and the company was subpoenaed by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for its investigation.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories