24 Apr 2010

Fears ease over oil rig spill

5:45 pm on 24 April 2010

The US Coast Guard says no oil appears to be leaking from a rig that sank off Louisiana on Thursday.

Crews will continue to monitor the rig closely amid concerns over a possible environmental disaster.

BP said on Friday that a flotilla of 32 clean-up vessels and remote controlled vehicles had responded to the incident.

Chief executive Tony Hayward said the company would do everything in its power to contain any spills and limit the environmental impact.

The Coast Guard called off its search on Saturday for 11 missing workers, saying they probably never made it off the drilling platform during the explosion and raging fire.

In 2009, BP PLC was fined $US87 million for failing to improve safety conditions following an explosion that killed 15 people at a refinery in Texas.

The BBC reports the rig was carrying out exploratory drilling 84km south-east of the Louisiana port of Venice when the blast occurred on Tuesday night.

Seventeen workers were injured and taken for treatment, and more than 100 were evacuated.

The rig had been burning for 36 hours before it sank on Thursday in 1500 metres of water.