Four Worst Offshore Oil Rig Disasters

oil rig offshoreWhen accidents happen on offshore oil rigs, they can happen quickly and without warning. The loss of life and injuries can be disastrous. Explosions, fires, and even drowning in the ocean waters threatens workers on the rigs.

The Piper Alpha, 1988

Just look at the worst oil rig disaster in history, the Piper Alpha disaster in Britain’s North Sea. It occurred in July 1988, and killed 167 rig workers.

It began with leaking gas from a platform pipe. Routine maintenance had caused a pressure safety value to be taken off earlier in the day. At shift change, maintenance was not complete and the incoming crew was supposed to have been informed not to turn on one of the affected pumps.

However, they were not informed. It was turned on when another pump tripped. A series of explosions hit the platform as gas caught on fire. The platform was completely destroyed. Fighting the fire took 3 weeks.

The Alexander L. Kielland, 1980

The Alexander L. Kielland, a semi-submersible platform for the workers on the Edda oil rig in Norway, capsized in March 1980. One hundred and twenty-three workers were killed, most due to drowning.

The Deepwater Horizon, 2010

On April 20, 2010, an explosion and ensuing fire on the semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon caused the death of 11 workers and injury to 17 more. The Deepwater Horizon was roughly 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Transocean owned and operated the unit. It was drilling oil for BP.

The accident also caused the biggest worldwide marine oil spill to date. It is considered the most significant environmental disaster in the history of the U.S.

The Abkatun Permanente, 2015

In August 2015, 4 workers were killed and 45 injured on the Abkatun Permanente platform due to an explosion and subsequent fire. The platform, in the Gulf of Mexico, was run by Pemex, the state-run Mexican oil company.

If you’ve been injured on an oil rig

People who have been injured on an offshore oil rig may be able to bring a lawsuit against the company or its contractors for negligence. If there were harmful or dangerous conditions or practices, or rules and regulations weren’t followed properly, and it can be shown that the company or its contractors knew or should have known about the conditions and did nothing to rectify them, you may be eligible to collect damages for negligence.

Plaintiffs may seek damages for expenses related to medical treatment, physical therapy, medications needed, lost wages due to recovery time, or training if the injured party requires a new line of work. A suit can also cover claims for pain and suffering.

If an oil rig accident has caused fatalities, the deceased person’s family can bring a suit for wrongful death. Family members can bring a lawsuit for the pain and suffering, as well as medical treatment, physical therapy, medications, and lost wages of the deceased. 

When you need an experienced attorney

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in an offshore oil rig disaster, we are here to help. We are experienced in maritime law and offshore oil rig cases. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers maintains two Louisiana offices, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. Our clients include locals and those from out of state who need advice from an experienced maritime attorney in Louisiana.

For a free consultation with a Louisiana oil rig accident attorney, call or contact me online today.

Additional “biggest oil rig disasters” resources:

  1. Mohney, Gillian. “Oil Rig Explosion Kills 4 in Gulf of Mexico, No Spill Reported.” ABC News. August 1, 2015.
  2. The World’s Worst Offshore Oil Disasters.



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