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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Indictments Announced|in Gulf Platform Blast

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Three companies and three employees have been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a 2012 oil platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed three Filipino workers.

Black Elk's oil production platform was about 17 miles offshore from Grand Isle. Even though it had been on break from producing oil for several weeks before the explosion occurred, workers at the time were on the platform preparing to resume production.

In addition to the Filipino nationals who were killed in the blast, several other workers were injured.

Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC and Grand Isle Shipyards Inc. have been indicted on three counts of involuntary manslaughter and eight counts involving federal safety violations under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and one violation of the Clean Water Act.

Wood Group PSN and three workers were indicted on similar charges.

While welding pipe on the morning of November 16, 2012, a worker ignited oil vapors, triggering a chain reaction that resulted in oil tanks exploding and a fire on the platform, the Justice Department said.

A year later, federal regulators issued a report that identified a series of safety violations that led to the explosion. In short, Black Elk and its contractors had not adequately established safety precautions on the platform, and workers did not follow regulations while performing "hot work," or welding, on the platform the report said, according to the Associated Press.

The workers who have been charged in connection with the blast are Don Moss, 46, of Groves, Texas., Curtis Dantin, 50, of Cut Off, La., and Christopher Sruber, 40, of Destrehan, La.

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