June 30, 2023 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Remembering an Accident: C.P. Baker Drilling Barge


The C.P. Baker Drilling Barge disaster in the Gulf of Mexico on June 30, 1964, resulted in the deaths of 21 people and injuries to 22 others.

Pan American Petroleum Corp issued contracts for the C.P. Baker Drilling Barge to perform drilling on the Eugene Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the morning of June 30, 1964, the two 260ft-long hulls of the C.P. Baker suffered a blowout. Water gushed into the vessel through open doors on the main deck, and the barge lost electricity soon thereafter.

On the C.P. Baker, the entire barge was engulfed with fire and explosion minutes later.

Only 22 out of the total 43 crew onboard survived the disaster, most of whom saved their lives by jumping from the port bow. The vessel sank upside-down in the water after approximately 30 minutes. The rescue operation confirmed eight as dead, with 13 crew missing.

Source: Offshore Technology, “C.P. Baker Drilling Barge disaster, Gulf of Mexico, 1964.”

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Accident, Investigations
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