Those of us in the business have been following this all day. We are praying for those missing but know that it would be very unlikely to find them alive. This may turn out to be the deadliest oil rig disaster in the Gulf. R.I.P. brothers. Oil rig explodes off Louisiana coast; 11 missing - Yahoo! News Since 2001, there have been 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries and 858 fires and explosions in the Gulf, according to the federal Minerals Management Service. There are 42 rigs either drilling or doing upgrades and maintenance in depths of 1,000 feet or greater in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the agency. They employ an estimated 35,000 people. In 1964, a catamaran-type drilling barge operated by Pan American Petroleum Corp. near Eugene Island, about 80 miles off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, suffered a blowout and explosion while drilling a well. Twenty-one crew members died. The deadliest offshore drilling accident took place in 1988, when an Occidental Petroleum platform, the Piper Alpha, about 120 miles off Aberdeen, Scotland, was rocked by explosions and fire. A total of 167 men were killed.