[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.
So many mushrooms out there so little education… Just what our economy needs to rely on foreign countries for oil and gas. Try getting away from oil and see how that works for you. Your lives are drenched in petroleum. From the wrappers of your food to the very computer you are using to post your retarded comments.
Case in point.
bring in the clowns
I am a Florida Gulf Coast business owner that is directly tied to the beaches. The latest news is sketchy at best, but even if the rig doesn't leak oil, who in their right mind can trust us when we tell them the truth that for the most part Florida beaches are clean? There has just been to much sensationalism by the media that people outside the gulf have oil fatigue.
Scientist claim there is highly toxic invisible oil, there are millions of gallons on the ocean floor, an that any contact is very dangerous. How can a surf shop, restaurant or hotel combat science, with truth when no one wants to risk their vacation dollars on an oil tainted trip?
Hopefully this is the last event of its kind in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ah! how lovely ... round two perhaps? what horse crap!!!! people wake up and smell the gas we have to do something before the oil giants take complete control of this planet!
Quote "One of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history",are you serious?Name one worse!Somebody has to go to prison for this!
Most importantly, this was NOT a BP rig – if you read the article it names the company:
"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."
I'm wondering when BP will use this event to start cutting claims payments. I bet they'll be praying for a leak.
One thing is true though, we now know what won't work when trying to plug a well.
Yesterday I saw some guy wearing Black Sabbath gym shoes. After reading these posts, I find that more interesting and productive. Let the South burn and rot. I live in the North. Who really cares??????
For those of you who have compared the risks associated with drilling to mining disasters or bad car design - those comparisons don't hold up for one simple reason - environmental costs. If a mine collapses it kills the miners but there is little cost to surface environment, same thing with faulty car design etc. I'm not against drilling or even deep water drilling, but I believe that it should be treated like a NASA project with every failsafe in place and everything done possible to reduce risk.
Some of these comments are truly revealing, in that they show the depth and breadth of ignorance of the teeming, blabbering masses.
The bottom line is:
1) Oil & Gas exploration and production involve highly flammable/volatile substances
2) The industry does its best to mitigate possible accidents, involving said flammable/volatile substances, yet such occurrences are inevitable
3) Nearly every single person in an industrialized locale on this planet: drives, fly in airplanes, bicycles, cools or heats their home, use myriad plastics, cosmetics, medicines etc etc etc....What powers and composes all these things? Magic ??? No...all derived from hydrocarbons
4) So, until viable alternatives are found – at least 10-20 years down the road- S.T.F.U. and deal with it, or go live in a cave, eat roots and squirrels, and wipe your ass with leaves.
"Dealing with it" in a reasoned, money-wise and timely way was EXACTLY my suggestion. Sitting back and sucking it up is not my idea of a viable solution. Have fun in your armchair....you'll probably need both hands to pull your head out of your a$$.
Mariner Energy is a subsidary of BP
Tourism over oil drilling, that what Biggs said- Well maybe you should ask your tourist what form of transportation they would use so that they could become your tourists?
Once they get in state we have a shiny new high speed rail that will run em from the gulf of Mexico to, Disney World, and back again.
Here we go again......we are REALLY and TRULY playing with fire....literally.....and one day...one day,,,we're going to pay the price.
Drill baby Drill !!!
Come on down to Florida Bob. The Rays taught your sox a lesson. Maybe we could introduce you to the great fishing down here. We don't care if they Drill Baby Drill, just not here in Florida. Lets face facts, where else would people go to enjoy the fishing, beaches and surf.
Honestly, this is not a surprise.
CAN WE EAT THE OIL CAN WE CONSUME INTO OUR STOMACH CAN WE SMELL THE FUME , DO WE NEED TO SAW ANOTHER SUE NAM MI COMING AROUND 12.5 EARTHQUAKE I THINK SO , GOD BLESS ALL MAN MADE TRAGIC AND GOD CALLING TIME TO AWAKENING TO ALL THE HI-TECH ERA .
I think police may have shot your brother at the Discovery HQ yesterday. Contact Silver Springs police and tell them you are next of kin.
This blog – This Just In – will no longer be updated. Looking for the freshest news from CNN? Go to our ever-popular CNN.com homepage on your desktop or your mobile device, and join the party at @cnnbrk, the world's most-followed account for news.