Operator facing federal charges for deadly platform blast

AP News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2015 7:21 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oil platform operator Black Elk Energy is facing federal criminal charges in connection with a November 2012 explosion off Louisiana's coast that left three workers dead and others badly injured.

Multiple media outlets report that U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite Jr. of the Eastern District in Louisiana filed a six-count criminal complaint against Houston-based Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations last week.

Polite says Black Elk and its contractors failed to comply with federal safety regulations on the platform, located about 20 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a report in November 2013 that said storage tanks weren't properly purged of flammable liquid before the crew began welding nearby.

A lawyer for Black Elk, Matt Chester, declined a request for comment from The Advocate newspaper (http://bit.ly/1DWUMfV ).