4:53 pm | Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Embassy in the United States has called on American authorities to investigate the death of a Filipino worker who fell off an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico a week ago, expressing concern over the safety of Philippine citizens employed in off-shore facilities in the US.
Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. made the appeal to the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) following the death of 38-year-old welder Peter Jorge Voces.
“The Philippines expresses its deep concern over the safety of Filipinos working in offshore oil facilities in the US,” Cuisia said through the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.’s Twitter account.
“Although we hope Mr Voces’ death was not the result of platform safety issues, we expect the BSEE to thoroughly investigate the incident,” he said.
Voces was killed Sunday night after an empty storage tank fell and pushed him overboard as he worked with a crew to dismantle a platform in an area called Vermillion Block 200 located some 88.5 kms south of Freshwater Bayou in Louisiana.
It was not clear how the tank fell on Voces. US Coast Guard search and rescue crews found him on Tuesday morning pinned underwater just below the platform.
Cuisia on Friday also phoned Voces’ widow in the Philippines and assured him of the Philippine government’s assistance in repatriating her husband’s remains and securing benefits from his employer, Offshore Specialty Fabricator LLC.
“We are praying for you and your loved ones,” Cuisia told Voces’ wife Maritess when they spoke by phone on Friday.
Voces is the fourth Filipino killed on the job in offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, the Embassy earlier said. A year ago, three Filipinos died and three others sustained serious injuries in an explosion at an oil platform also off the Lousiana coast, some 248 kms. from the site of Voces’ accident.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer’s Reader’s Advocate. Or write The Readers’ Advocate: