[Updated at 9:36 p.m.] Earl has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane but is still dangerous, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. Thursday forecast.
As of 8 p.m., the center of Earl was about 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket. It was heading north at about 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (165 kph).
"Even if the center of Earl remains offshore ... hurricane force winds are expected to occur in the Outer Banks overnight tonight," the center said Thursday.
[Updated at 2:14 p.m.] For continuing coverage of the incident involving a production platform on fire in the Gulf read the full story here.
[Updated at 2:08 p.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Bordelon tells CNN there is a sheen at the site of the production platform that measures approximately 1 mile by 100 feet. This information comes after Gov. Bobby Jindal who said there were reports of a mile-long sheen.
[Updated at 1:03 p.m.] Mariner Energy, owner of the production platform, said in a press release that no hydrocarbon spill has been reported after an initial flyover of the incident.
"Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident," the statement said. "The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate."
The company also said no injuries have been reported.
[Updated at 12:48 p.m.] David Reed, a paramedic on board a neighboring oil rig located 14 miles from the platform that exploded, told iReport he saw all thirteen workers rescued from the water.
“We were up here in the radio room and all of sudden we saw a whole bunch of smoke coming from the platform," Reed said. "Shortly after all the radios started lighting up like a Christmas tree. They called any helicopters in the area, any boats in the area to respond, they were saying there were people in the water. There were multiple people in the water.”
See Reed's iReport of what he witnessed
WWL: Coast Guard reporting production platform incident
WDSU: Production platform explodes in Gulf
iReport: Did you see the explosion? Share images
[Updated at 12:32 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the federal government has "assets ready" to respond to any environmental problems resulting from the explosion of an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana.
Click to watch video
[Updated at 12:31 p.m.] All thirteen people aboard a production platform that exploded in the Gulf are accounted for and safely on a commercial vessel according to initial information, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.
"We continue to gather information as we respond with full force, and have oil spill response assets ready for immediate deployment should we receive any reports of pollution," the statement said.
[Updated at 11:53 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that 12 people from the production platform are in water immersion suits as they await rescue.
Colclough told CNN there are reports the production platform, which is for both oil and natural gas, is still on fire.
"We don't know what caused the rig to catch on fire," he told CNN, noting the incident is under investigation.
Asked about concerns regarding oil leaks or pollution, Colclough said "there are reports the rig was not actively producing any product, so we don't know if there's any risk of pollution."
Mariner Energy is a leading independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the Gulf of Mexico. About 85 percent of the company's production comes from offshore assets, with a growing share of that coming from deepwater developments.
The explosion comes nearly five months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people and causing oil to gush into
the Gulf of Mexico, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
[Updated at 11:43 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the production platform explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.
Coast Guard Choppers are on the way to the site 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.
[Posted at 11:33 a.m.] An oil production platform has exploded 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana, with 12 people overboard and one missing, the Coast Guard said Thursday morning.
Rescue attempts are under way for at least 12 people, Coast Guard spokesman John Edwards told CNN. 13 people were on board the production platform total, Edwards said, noting 12 have been accounted for, but one person was missing.
The accident took place 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana on the Vermilion Oil production platform 380, which is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy.
The Coast Guard has multiple helicopters, an airplane and several Coast Guard cutters en route. It's unknown if there are any injuries.
getting a masters degree is of course necessary if you want a wage increase and improvement in your career :`*
Already know the facts, huh. You are something....I don't know what, but something
You know something we don't or do you just fling accusations as your mood dictates?
wow. you're a real smart fella aren't ya?
who names their kid Corey????
Are you psychic? You can determine the cause of an explosion by sitting at your computer and just thinking really hard?You should sign on with the oil company as an investigator! Unless, of course, this eco-terrorist attack was actually launched by eco-terrorist moles inside the oil company, which, of course, it probably was. And these moles are in high-level positions, so they would thwart your work at every turn. Probably the safest thing, then, is for you to go back to your copy of "Conspiracy Theory Monthly" and keep reading.
Wow how convenient that you are actually there. May you could get off your fat oil engorged ass and help save some lives before we get your next news feed, seein as you're there and all.
How can you say that? How dare you? No one knows anything right now. But of course that will not stop you rt wing nut cases from spinning your conspiracies. Hmm, did Rush and friends say that the BP disaster was from eco terrorists? Turned out not to be true. Think before you speak.
True this could be a propane explosion used for heating or cooking but for this to be a mass evacuation with 1 person missing, This is something big.
Playing the blame game gets us nowhere. The only thing that is going to happen from pointing fingers is there won't be any solutions. I may be one person but if we came up with a plan (Alaska, Buggies ;) ) then we could avoid killing the ocean and our economy.
"Hmm, did Rush and friends say that the BP disaster was from eco terrorists?"
"we could avoid killing the ocean"
It's exactly this sort of thinking that mandates rigs be so far out in the ocean as to make drilling much more dangerous than it needs to be. You eco-nazis are reaping what you've sown and are blaming others for your own mistakes.
you are correct. Too bad the american way is to BLAME BLAME BLAME
Off-shore drilling can't be done safely?
It appears the oil companies are also paying for their mistakes.
This rig is in farly shallow water, about 300ft. The only reason it is there is because that is where the oil/gas field is that it is producing from. It is not because of any regulations or public pressure.
They had an accident....the only reason it is all over the news is because of the completely unrelated BP blowout.
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