However, officials on board the ABAN Pearl managed to get the situation under control some time later, allowing the crew members to remain safely on the vessel.

Up to news time, though, officials were still trying to determine what caused the choppy waters to seep into the rig.

The ABAN Pearl, a semi-submersible rig, was located two nautical miles, south-western end, off Point Baline, Gasper Grande Island.

It was said to be headed for neighbouring Venezuela at the time of the mishap.

Amatrin Marine are the local agents for the vessel. The rig had been in dry dock in Chaguaramas earlier in the week for maintenance.

Public relations officer of the Coast Guard Kirk Jean-Baptiste said they received the distress call at Staubles Bay around 3.15 pm yesterday.

“We were told that the oil rig, the Pearl, was leaning to the side because the floatation device was taking in water,” Jean-Baptiste said in a telephone interview.

Jean-Baptiste said a Coast Guard crew was immediately despatched to the vessel.

The team, he said, comprised two interceptor crews, of eight members each, a dive team comprising four men and other rescue workers.

‘This was done as a precautionary measure because it is people’s lives you are dealing with,” he said.

But Jean-Baptiste said officials on the rig said some time later that they no longer required the assistance of the Coast Guard as they had managed to contain the situation.

“There are teams on board these vessels who are trained to deal with these things,” he added.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries yesterday confirmed the incident, saying that three Coast Guard vessels had been called out to assist and rescue the crew after the rig began “taking in water on the starboard side of the vessel.”

“On reaching the scene, however, the Coast Guard noted that the situation had stabilised and there was no need to evacuate the rig’s 90 crew members and that all crew members were safe on board the rig,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the incident did not result in any pollution, adding it was on stand-by to assist if the need arose.

A semi-submersible rig is a mobile, off-shore drilling unit, usually for exploration purposes, that floats on the water’s surface above the subsea wall and is anchored.



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