US authorities to interview injured Filipinos in oil rig blast


Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine embassy in Washington on Friday said that federal authorities were expected to interview three Filipino oil rig workers who sustained burn injuries in the November 16 oil platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico.

The embassy noted that officers from the Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement (BSEE) of the United States’ Department of Interior had made inquiries to check on the condition of the Filipinos being treated for serious burns at the Baton Rouge General Hospital in Louisiana.

“We expect federal authorities to interview the three Filipino workers as soon as their condition would allow them to give their account of what really happened that day,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia said in a statement.

“We expect our kababayans to tell investigators everything they know so that we could all get to the bottom of this tragedy,” Cuisia said.

The incident had claimed the lives of three Filipino workers — Ellroy Corporal, Avelino Tajonera, and Jerome Malagapo — and injured three others. There were nine Filipino and five non-Filipino employees working on the oil platform during the incident.

Meanwhile, the embassy noted that the hospital authorities have announced that the conditions of the three Filipino injured workers continued to improve.

Cuisia also noted that BSEE investigators had earlier interviewed three other Filipinos who were with the six victims when fire broke out on the platform owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy. The said Filipinos returned to the Philippines a few days after the incident.

Cuisia earlier decried media reports saying that the “incompetence” and “poor English language proficiency” of Filipino workers could have caused the fire.

The envoy argued that the Filipino workers passed stringent training, safety and language requirements both in the United States in the Philippines, adding that the men have extensive experience in the oil industry abroad with companies like Shell, Chevron, and British Petroleum.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Diepor

    The HSE is not good on those rigs. I feel safer working on north sea rigs.

  • kanoy

     Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia can decry all the media reports he wants….he was soaking up the luxuries of his high paid padded with numerous perks job in DC 2300 miles away from the Gulf… he does not know who said or who understood what….if it did happen could it have been the cause of the fire” highly unlikely they push those drill bits way past their intended use time due to cost of bits so they get extremely hot fast

  • DakuAkongUtin

    Aba, pumasok na ang mga imbestigasyones. Good luck bec ang mga Puti pa naman mahilig sa mag hanap nang butas ano ano man. Since no US lives were loss, then maybe they will be more lenient. But if it involves a white guy,  then expect law suits galore. Basta Puti, hindi yan magpapahuli sa pera at death compensations.

    • Jay

      Wag ka nang magsalita at wala ka naman alam.talagang may investigation sa ganyan pangyayari.yan mga nasawi sa sakuna na yan makakakuha ng compensation yan.hindi porket walang US lives na namatay diyan case close na yan.lahat ng workers dito may Rights..

      • DakuAkongUtin

        Formalities lang yan Jayjay.  Pagna laman nila ng may pagkakakulang, penalize kaagad  yan ng Gobyerno para makapera sila. These private companies have a lot of insurance money so that will take care of it.

      • Marlou Wang

        Bakit noong British Petroleum incident walang investigation? Dahil British ang mga trabajadores? Bakkeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeettt!??? Mas matindi pa nga ang oil na kinalat ng palpak na yon?!!!

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