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Agencies investigate oil rig deaths

Posted On: Jul. 2, 2019 2:11 PM CST


The U.S. Coast Guard and the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are leading an investigation into a Sunday morning incident at Shell Oil Co.’s oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Multiple news outlets have reported that two workers were killed and another injured during tests on the oil company’s Shell Auger Tension Leg Platform, which is about 200 miles south of New Orleans.

A spokesperson for the BSEE said the Coast Guard is taking the lead on the latest investigation. The bureau also has open investigation panels, in conjunction with the Coast Guard, for two other incidents involving Gulf of Mexico oil rigs, she said. She declined to provide additional information regarding the ongoing investigations.

In June, the BSEE announced it would investigate with the help of the Coast Guard’s New Orleans Investigations Unit a late May report of a man overboard reported missing on the Houston-based Renaissance Offshore LLC platform located about 170 miles southwest of New Orleans, and a June 1 fatality that occurred on an oil rig belonging to San Ramon, California-based Chevron Corp. about 150 miles southwest of New Orleans. 

Both incidents involved workers falling through platform decks to a lower elevation or into the water, Lars Herbst, BSEE regional director, said in a news release.

According to the BSEE, the investigations will involve interviewing employees, witnesses and experts, as well as analyzing evidence from forensic testing. Once complete, the panel will issue its findings and make recommendations on how to strengthen safety measures.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Shell Oil did not immediately respond to media requests.