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10 missing from Pemex oil vessel

MIAMI, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Rescue workers searched Friday for 10 men who disappeared from a U.S.-owned oil ship during Tropical Storm Nate in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.

Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex said the men, contractors from Geokinetics, were evacuated from Trinity II Thursday in the Bay of Campeche. Pemex said rescue efforts were hampered by weather conditions.

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Geokinetics spokeswoman Brenda Taquino, said the crew of a nearby ship reported seeing the workers board a life raft, but were prevented by storm conditions from providing assistance, CNN reported.

The life raft is not equipped with a radio but it has sufficient supplies to hold the workers for several days, Taquino said.

RELATED Katia picks up speed in Atlantic

In its 11 p.m. EDT update, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said a tropical storm warning has been issued for the coast of Mexico from Tampico south to Punta el Lagarto. A hurricane watch was posted from Tampico to Veracruz, a tropical storm warning was in effect from Tampico to Punta el Lagarto and a tropical storm watch was posted from north of Tampico to La Cruz.

Nate was about 205 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, and about 280 miles east-southeast of Tuxpan, Mexico. The storm was moving west at 2 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

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Nate was expected to pick up forward speed during the weekend and the center of the storm could approach the coastal watch area Sunday.

Also at 11 p.m. EDT, the center said Tropical Storm Maria remained poorly organized about 130 miles north of Barbados and about 150 miles east-southeast of Guadaloupe, with top sustained winds of 45 mph. Maria was moving west-northwest at 45 mph.

Forecasters expect Maria to reach the Lesser Antilles by Friday night and spread over the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Saturday.

Tropical storm watches and warnings from Maria were in effect for Guadeloupe, St. Maartin, Saba, St. Eustatius, Antigua, Anguilla, Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Barthelemy, St. Marteen, Martinique, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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