On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling platform owned by Houston-based Transocean Limited, exploded with 126 people onboard. The rig was under contract to British Petroleum PLC (“BP”). The devastating blast claimed 11 lives, injured dozens more and ultimately caused the largest oil spill in United States history. According to a spokesman for Transocean, the platform was actively drilling at the time of the explosion but was not actually in production.

The maritime lawyers at Zehl & Associates currently represent several individuals who were seriously injured in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Officials working on behalf of BP and Transocean are trying to settle these offshore injury claims for staggeringly low amounts, sometimes as little as just one year’s wages. Do not accept any settlement offer until you have thoroughly discussed it with a knowledgeable Jones Act lawyer! You may be entitled to much more in damages than you are being led to believe.

The explosion, which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico about 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, left the rig on fire and listing badly. After burning for nearly 36 hours, the Deepwater Horizon finally sank beneath the waves, coming to rest on the seafloor approximately 5,000 feet down.

The Deepwater Horizon, built in 2001, was a 396 foot-long, 256 foot-wide moveable platform with enough space for a crew of 130 individuals. This particular rig was designed to operate in depths of up to 8,000 feet and can drill to almost 5.5 miles. At the time of the explosion, the rig was operating in an area known as the Macondo prospect.

The Deepwater Horizon is a type of rig known as a semi-submersible platform. These rigs are usually floated to a particular site, partially flooded with seawater and then moored using several large anchors. Semi-submersibles do not actually touch the sea floor; they rest low in the water, floating directly above the drilling site.

In September of 2009, the Deepwater Horizon set a world deepwater drilling record when it successfully drilled to a depth beyond 35,000 feet at another BP site elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. According to records kept by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS), since just 2001 there have been 858 fires or explosions, 69 deaths and 1,349 injuries recorded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Zehl & Associates continues to follow the latest developments of the BP/Transocean Rig explosion and give their thoughts on the Zehl & Associates maritime blog.

In the wake of a serious offshore injury, such as the Deepwater Horizon accident, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable maritime lawyer before making any major decisions. Contact our team of experienced Jones Act lawyers today for a FREE, confidential consultation by calling 1-888-302-3838.


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