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Jul 22, 2010 4:33 AM

Ships ready to leave leaky well as storm brews

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) Crew members aboard dozens of ships in the Gulf of Mexico are preparing to evacuate as a tropical rainstorm brewing in the Caribbean brings the deep-sea effort to plug BP's ruptured oil well to a near standstill.

Though the rough weather is hundreds of miles from the spill site and won't enter the Gulf for at least a few more days, officials have ordered technicians trying to plug BP's well to stand down because they needed several days to clear the area.

Just days before the expected completion of a relief well designed to permanently throttle the oil, the government's spill chief said Wednesday that work was suspended.

Worse yet, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says foul weather could require reopening the cap that's contained the oil for nearly a week.

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