[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.
Drill Baby, Drill! Mama Grizzly should be the next President of the U.S. and she just might be able to pull a rabbit out of her hat, as Barrack Hussain Obama will end up being a one term President given how much the teabaggers look to attack him on everything. Do the teabagger's really know what it means to teabag someone? LOL!
Our boy Osama bin Laden stated that Al quida's single most important course of action was to destroy the American economy and bring America to it's knee's. How's the economy looking these days, eh? Another rig blows up and perhaps many more before this is over. Yes, Sarah, "Drill, Baby Drill!".
This definatly is very disturbing news. If the GOVERMENT does not Look inot this possibly being Terror attacks then they need to get there heads on straight HELLO!!!!! We have had to many Medical helicopters going down all over for no apparent reason, Oil rigs exploding, Fake (((They Say)))) dry runs, They are hitting us hard with out even pulling a trigger wake up Americans and speak up! My husband is a vietnam Vet He has always said since 9-11-2001 they would ruin the Unites states of America without pulling a trigger. Never Forget what happened 9-11-2001!!!!!!!!
What paranoia. I still haven't tossed aside the idea that 9/11 was known well in advance and that the plane that went down over PA was shot down (still think that one was), but this is paranoia without base.
The oil prices didn't go up enough from the last oil disaster so they had to try again
suck my dick-ron jaremy
are you F#@$%ing kidding me...
How many wake-up calls do we need before we make it our #1 priority to kick the oil habit for good? We can do that if we want; there are alternatives; the goal is not unattainable. Plus, the oil IS going to run out eventually. Not maybe. It will. We're going to have to adapt to alternative energy sources sooner or later. Why make it even later?
In the mean time, let's all keep these folks and their families in our prayers.
For the immediate – you're right...keep the workers and their families in our prayers
Politics and Economics will come crashing in on us soon enough
Was it a BP platform? If it was, somebody out to be fired.
Here we go down that slippery oil slicked slope. Let's just turn off all of the oil wells in production.
From what I understand, it is NOT a BP rig, the platform in question is leased by Gulf Oil.
Here we go again. Another consequence of the BUSH and REPUBLICAN deregulation of BIG OIL. WHEN WILL WE HOLD THEM FULLY ACCOUNTABLE.
Isn't this the wonderful, A diaster in the United States of America and all most are doing is name calling and trying to enforce their political beliefs. Perhaps you can't read the word UNITED. I'm sure if you were here in 1941 you'd argue over whose fault Pearl Harbor was and not do a thing. We've become a society of obese whinners, only concerned if our political side wins. And you idiots wonder what's wrong with the USA.
DIS ASPLOSHUN ESS OBAAAMAS FULT!!!!!! NAO BEEPEE CAN NUT BE BALMED FER KEELING FEESH AN DOLLFINS AND SEE TWURTELS!! YOU CAN BALM OBAAMA!! HE WUNT TO SEE GULF SO BLACK WEETH OYL LYK MEEE!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
*** WIERD ***
Wat ahr yew doctur ov...mispellink tinks alhl ovur des plase? Man....don't be the one to pick up the phone when I need a prescription refill...dude that's bad!
HUMAN DID IT , AMEN , NO BORN NO PASS AWAY , AMEN NO EAT NO WASTE , NO DRINK NO URINE , AMEN , NO CAUSE NO AFFECTED , NO PAIN NO GAIN , NO FULL MOON NO PROBLEM , BUT IF FULL MOON ARE COMING THAN THERE ARE MANY PROBLEM TO RESCUE WITH FROM THE INJURY TO COMMIT CRIME ALL THINGS ARE ADDING UP , THE MORE ONE OWNSELF ATE THE MORE WASTE ONE OWNSELF GONNA GETTING OUT OFF THAT THE TRUE NATURE FULL OF SOLUTION THAT NEEDED TO RECOGNIZE TO THE END OF THE HUMAN LIFE FORM ON THIS MOTHER EARTH THAT HAVE BEEN CALLING HELL AND HEAVENLY PLACE THAT LOCATING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ONE OWNSELF EYE AND FACES , AMEN
*** Even MORE Wierd ***
*** Even MORE Weird ***
what kind of strange broken english is that? I don't think one bit of that made any sense whatsoever.
And people wondered why there was a moritorium on offshore drilling. Yes, accidents happen, but this is getting ridiculous.
Join the Florida Clean Energy Coalition http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=109408555776994
Ah, another reason to focus more on clean energy and electric vehicles. When will people learn. We've given enough money to the greedy Oil companies. I'ts time to move on!
Ah! how lovely ... may I say round two perhaps? people wake up and smell the gas we have to do something before the oil giants take complete control of this planet!
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