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17/11/2012: US Coast Guard Continues Search for 2 Filipinos Missing in Oil Platform Fire Off Louisiana Coast

17 November 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States Coast Guard is still searching for two Filipinos who remain missing in the Gulf of Mexico more than a day after a fire in their offshore oil platform critically injured four other Filipinos, the Philippine Embassy said today.

In his report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said the two Filipino oil workers remain unaccounted for and are the object of search and rescue operations being undertaken by the US Coast Guard in waters off the coast of Louisiana.

Ambassador Cuisia said the four injured Filipinos are being treated for serious burns at the Baton Rouge General Hospital where they remain in critical but stable condition.

Three other Filipinos were working on the oil platform at the time of the incident on Friday but the envoy said the Embassy could not immediately confirm whether they were among the nine workers that the US Coast Guard said were hurt in the incident.

Reports that reached the Embassy a few hours after the incident initially placed the number of injured Filipinos at 13 with two unaccounted for in the incident. According to the latest reports, the victims were among the nine Filipinos and five non-Filipinos working on the oil production platform located 25 miles off Grand Isle, Louisiana, when the fire broke out.

Ambassador Cuisia said Welfare Officer Saul de Vries will be proceeding to Baton Rouge to check on the condition of the injured Filipino oil workers and see what assistance the Embassy could extend to them.

According to information reaching the Embassy, the Filipinos are all employees of Grand Isle Shipyard Inc., which provides manpower to Black Elk Energy, the Houston-based independent oil and gas company that owns the stricken platform.

They are among an estimated 162 welders, fitters, scaffolders and riggers who were hired in the Philippines, through  D&R Resources and its partner agency in Manila, D&R Offshore Crewing Services Resources, to work in offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim said the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago is coordinating with US Coast Guard authorities and continues to monitor the situation. He said Deputy Consul General Orontes Castro is also in touch with Grand Isle and with Black Elk Energy.###