U.S. Issues Subpoena Over Louisiana Platform Fire

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November 19, 2012

Commercial vessels extinguish a platform fire on board West Delta 32 approximately 20 miles offshore Grand Isle, La., in the Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 16, 2012. Photo: USCG

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued a subpoena to the owner of the oil and gas platform that exploded last week, the government agency said Monday.

The explosion Friday of Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC’s platform left one worker dead, four critically injured and one missing. The Board, an independent federal agency that investigates industrial accidents, issued a subpoena seeking details on the company’s safety and environmental management plans and audits by theU.S. Department of Interior, a spokesman for the board said. Black Elk must respond to the subpoena by Nov. 30, the spokesman said.

A Black Elk representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The explosion occurred about 20 miles offshore of Grand Isle, La., on a production platform that had suspended operations. At least some of the 22 workers from Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. who working on the platform were Philippine nationals, including the worker found dead and the four that were critically injured.

The Philippine Embassy on Monday named contract worker Elroy Corporal as being the dead man found in waters near the accident site on Saturday evening. The remains of Corporal, 42 years old, are now in New Orleans and will be readied for repatriation to the Philippines after authorities perform an autopsy Monday, the embassy said in a statement.

Black Elk Energy hired commercial diving boats to continue the search for the missing worker after the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday.

-By Ben Lefebvre. (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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