GULFOFMEXICO - Divers found the body of a missing oil platform worker at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico this morning, near the platform that sits in 100 feet of water about 55 miles offshore.
The body is believed to be that of Peter Voces, 38, a Filipino national who works for Houma-based Offshore Specialty Fabricators LLC, who fell off the platform Sunday at 7:30 p.m. while he and the rest of the contract crew was working to decommission the idle facility.
Two sources connected to the accident response confirmed to WWL-TV that Voces' body was recovered. The Coast Guard directed all media inquiries to Offshore Specialty Fabricators, but Voces' employer has not responded to multiple requests for comment since Monday.
We have left emails and phone messages with Keith Martinez, Offshore Specialty Fabricators' director of administration, but he has not responded.
Voces fell off a platform in Vermilion Lease Block 200, which is due south of Freshwater Bayou. The wells serving the platform had all been plugged and abandoned since 2012 and no hydrocarbons were spilled in the accident. A storage tank went overboard with Voces and was also found by the divers on the bottom of the sea.
In a news release Monday, the Philippines Embassy in Washington identified Voces as a welder with appropriate work visas. Three Filipino workers on special visas died in an offshore accident in November 2012, and an exclusive investigation by WWL-TV exposed allegations that they were victims of a human trafficking ring and had been issued fake Social Security numbers.
There is no evidence connecting Voces or any other Offshore Specialty Fabricators' employees to the recruiting agency or process that landed the workers who died last year with a different offshore contractor, Grand Isle Shipyards.
The platform Voces was working on is owned by Energy Resource Technology GOM, a subsidiary of Houston-based Talos Energy. Talos was in the process of taking down several idle platforms.
Inspectors from the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have been on the scene since Monday and are investigating what caused the accident.