Tropical Storm Bonnie Forces Suspension of Relief Well Drilling

The tropical storm Bonnie has forced BP to temporarily suspend drilling on its relief well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Work to permanently plug the oil giant's leaking Macondo oil well, which has spewed more than 4m barrels of oil into the gulf, could be held up for up two weeks.

In a major setback for BP, ships working on the damaged oil well are leaving the site due to the storm, which formed over the Bahamas and could reach the area by the weekend. They have been ordered to evacuate by the US government.

Dozens of ships are preparing today to pull out of the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm brews in the Caribbean, halting deep-sea efforts to plug BP's ruptured oil well. Though the rough weather is hundreds of miles from the spill site, officials ordered technicians to suspend work as they would need several days to clear the area. The government's oil spill chief was waiting to see how the storm developed before deciding whether to order the ships to evacuate.