For one, they weren't joking when they christened the Deepwater Horizon rig -- it was drilling into a seafloor 5,000 feet below the surface. This platform, by comparison, stands at a much shallower depth.
"The depth of the water is approximately 56 feet," said incident commander Capt. Ed Cubanksi of the U.S. Coast Guard. "It was earlier reported 336 feet, but it's actually 56 feet."
A major environmental catastrophe at that depth would be spotted much sooner, and damage on the seafloor could be worked on by human divers instead of remote-operated vehicles.
And unlike the Deepwater Horizon, a floating drilling rig which burned until it sank, this fire was put out before the platform was lost.
"We've received a report that the rig is structurally sound," Capt. Cubanski said. "There's one corner where there's a lot of charring and obviously a fire took place."
Capt. Cubanski says there's also much better coordination between agencies that respond to potential environmental disasters in 2012 than there was just two-and-a-half years ago. A team of environmental enforcement inspectors has been dispatched to the scene.