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Offshore gas platform sinks, all 95 workers evacuated

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-13

A Venezuelan offshore gas platform collapsed into the sea on Thursday, President Hugo Chavez announced in a message from his new Twitter account. All 95 workers have been safely evacuated.

AFP - A Venezuelan offshore natural gas platform sank into the sea early Thursday morning, but all 95 workers were safely evacuated, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a Twitter message.

"I regret to tell you that the Aban Pearl gas platform sunk a few moments ago. The good news is that the 95 workers were saved," the Venezuelan leader announced on his @chavezcandanga Twitter account.

"They were evacuated and two of our Navy patrol ships are moving to the area," he added. "We will continue to move forward and succeed. Viva Venezuela!"

The platform collapse comes three weeks after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig sunk into the Gulf of Mexico, an accident that has left thousands of barrels of crude spilling into the ocean.

Venezuela's Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told state television station VTV this morning that the collapse of the rig did not pose an environmental threat.

"Companies that specialize in offshore operations have assured us that there is no risk of a gas leak," he said.

Ramirez said a system failure had occurred aboard the rig shortly before midnight and the platform began to tilt. Three hours later the rig collapsed into the sea, but all workers onboard had been evacuated.

Venezuela's national oil company began using the gas platform, which was built by Indian company Aban, in 2009 as part of the firm's exploration and oil and gas production projects.

Date created : 2010-05-13


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