A Louisiana federal court on Thursday ordered Houston-based Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations to pay a $4.2m fine over the fatal November 2012 explosion on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Three men – Ellroy Corporal, Jerome Malagapo and Avelino Tajonera – died and several others were injured when welding work ignited fumes and caused a chain reaction of blasts in three oil tanks, engulfing the West Delta 32 oil production platform in flames. The rig was located 17 miles from Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Judge Jane Triche Milazzo sentenced Black Elk on eight felony violations of the outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and one misdemeanour violation of the Clean Water Act.
Collecting on the fine is complicated, however, by Black Elk’s bankruptcy, meaning the $4.2m will be a general unsecured claim against the company’s estate.
Prosecutors had previously agreed to drop three counts of involuntary manslaughter against the company under a plea agreement.