As New Oil Rig Explosion Burns In Gulf Of Mexico, Houston Maritime Lawyers Renew Calls for Better Protection of Offshore Workers

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The Deepwater Horizon explosion in April and the Mariner Energy rig explosion on September 2 punctuate the need for better protection of the safety of oil rig crews and other maritime employees, the Houston maritime lawyers of Arnold & Itkin say.

Jason Itkin

Once again we see tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is our sincere hope that all maritime workers escape the oil rig unharmed.

A September 2, 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico illustrates the hazardous and often deadly work conditions that maritime workers face on a daily basis, say the Houston maritime injury lawyers of Arnold & Itkin LLP.

“Once again we see tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is our sincere hope that all maritime workers escape the oil rig unharmed," says Jason Itkin, a partner in the Houston-based law firm, which represents maritime workers throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

"This latest explosion shows drilling companies are still not doing enough to ensure the safety of the maritime workers and our sensitive coastal environment,” Itkin says.

According to news reports, an offshore oil platform owned by Mariner Energy of Houston burned September 2 in the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 80 miles off the Louisiana coast and west of the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, which occurred in April.

Thirteen oil workers were stranded, including one with injuries, news reports say. No deaths have been reported. It is unknown whether oil is leaking from the site.

The platform, named the Vermillion Oil Rig 380, was in 2,500 feet of water, reports say.

“Greater safety measures need to be taken to prevent future accidents like this,” says Kurt Arnold, a partner with Arnold & Itkin LLP.

“Injured oil workers may be compensated for their injuries by filing claims under various federal laws, including the Jones Act,” Arnold says. “But we need to be more proactive in protecting workers. Our firm would fully support the creation of an offshore worker safety task force.”

The September 2 explosion comes on the heels of the massive spill from the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased to BP PLC. That rig was drilling about 52 miles southeast of Venice, La., in 5,000 feet of water on April 20 when the rig exploded, killing 11 crew members and injuring 17 others.

The Deepwater Horizon leak was finally capped on July 15, after the gushing wellhead released nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Gulf Coast’s economic losses as a result of that spill didn’t stop when the oil stopped flowing,” Itkin says. “We only hope that this most recent explosion does not add to the area’s economic suffering.”

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The maritime accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements in favor of maritime workers. The firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits offshore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

The firm handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or online through the firm's website.

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