ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) - Work to permanently choke off the
oil well that had been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is at a standstill after ships around the site were ordered to evacuate ahead of the approaching Tropical Storm Bonnie.

There had been worries that the cap that has mostly contained the oil would have to be reopened and left gushing if a major stormcame through. But engineers are confident enough in the strength of the cap that they've decided to leave it sealed while most of the ships on the surface were told to leave the area.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen and BP officials concede the storm, which is expected to enter the Gulf by the weekend, could delay by another 12 days the push to plug the broken well for good using mud and cement.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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