Wayward Platform Found Floating Off Florida
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Hurricane Elena pulled a floating oil exploration drilling rig loose from eight anchors and moved it about 14 miles, the Coast Guard says.
The crew of a Coast Guard jet identified the rig Monday as the Zapata Yorktown, a semi-submersible rig owned by Zapata Gulf of Houston, Texas, and being operated by the Exxon Corp., said Lt. Katherine Donohoe at the Coast Guard’s 8th District headquarters here.
She said there was little ship traffic in the area because of the storm, which ran ashore Monday, but that vessels in the region had been warned to steer clear until the rig can be taken in tow.
She said the rig, whose platform measures 260-by-200 feet, was secured by eight anchors, two at each corner, 40 miles southwest of Destin on the Florida Panhandle when it was evacuated Saturday for a second time in two days as Elena zig-zagged across the Gulf of Mexico.
She said the Coast Guard plane, out of Mobile, Ala., found the rig floating 14 miles northwest of its original location.