Venezuelan Offshore Natural Gas Rig Sinks; 95 Workers Rescued and No Environmental Threat, Says Oil Minister
May 14, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story – Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez announced Thursday that an offshore natural-gas platform sank off the country’s eastern state of Sucre.
All of the 95 workers on the Aban Pearl platform were rescued by a Venezuelan navy frigate around 2:20 a.m. and the sinking poses no threat to the environment, Ramírez said.
“To my sorrow, I inform you that the Aban Pearl gas platform sank moments ago. The good news is that 95 workers are safe.” President Hugo Chávez said on his Twitter page.
Ramírez announced an investigation into the platform’s sinking and said that the collapse happened “too fast,” given that it took only three hours between the detection of the first technical failure and the sinking of the Aban Pearl platform.
Around midnight the system failure occurred and the platform soon began to tilt due to an apparent fault with the flotation system.
According to Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA, the gas well was immediately sealed and all safety valves activated before any leaking could occur.
The platform collapse comes just three weeks after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank off the Gulf of Mexico, creating the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The bodies of seven people showing signs of torture were found in northern Mexico, near the border with the United States.
- The mayor of the southern Mexican town of Petantepec allegedly punched and kicked his wife and pulled her hair during a mother’s day concert Monday.
- An Associated Press-Univision Poll shows that 74 percent of Hispanics believe illegal immigrants contribute to society, while just 35 percent of non-Hispanics thought similarly.
- The Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodríguez and the prima ballerina Alicia Alonso were granted visas for the first time in decades to perform in the United States.
- A convicted child rapist who has been on the Massachusetts Most Wanted list since 2004 was arrested in the Dominican Republic by the U.S. Marshals Service.
- A man who decapitated a gay teenager and burned his body in Puerto Rico plead guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
- Two Jamaican dancehall artists are recovering after being shot during separate incidents earlier this week.
- After a warning from FIFA, El Salvador’s National Assembly agreed Thursday to give a two-month recognition to the regulatory commission of El Salvador’s football federation.
- Honduras expelled a Texas woman who has ties to an infamous polygamous sect and was linked to a set of murders in the 1990s.
- A prominent basketball player was shot and killed in Belize 24 hours after the government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that “the crime situation in Belize has reached crisis proportions.”
- A Canadian woman, imprisoned in Panama on drug-trafficking charges, says she is being forced to sell her house because her financial institution has refused to defer her mortgage payments.
- Five Colombians, arrested in Venezuela, were transferred to a military court and will face espionage and sabotage charges.
- The Venezuelan government expropriated the Mexican-owned food company Monaca, after declaring a 90-day government receivership to control Monaca’s operations and bank accounts last December.
- Ecuador will sell $1.52 billion in local bonds as a way to fund the country’s infrastructure projects in the next two years.
- A British woman died of what is believed to be altitude sickness while hiking an Inca trail in Bolivia.
- On Thursday, Chilean police raided the home of an acquaintance of the Pakistani man detained Monday at the U.S. Embassy.
- Ten European countries are protesting the re-opening of trade talks between Mercosur and the EU, which are scheduled to resume on Monday.
- Brazil may attempt to use a potential $6.5 billion arms deal with France to secure better terms in the upcoming trade talks between Mercosur and the EU.
- Argentina’s plan to build a coal-fired power plant in the province of Santa Cruz is being attacked by environmentalists who worry about the nation’s increased dependence on fossil fuels.
- An ambitious housing program sponsored by the Brazilian government that subsidizes the cost of single-family homes may eliminate overcrowding in the country’s favelas.
Image: Tsunda @ Flickr