Storm passes, ships returning to well site

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Ships are heading back to resume work on the leaky oil well in the Gulf, now that remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie have breezed past.

Dozens of vessels evacuated the area yesterday as the storm bore down, but it weakened to a tropical depression before moving over the well. The cameras that have given a constant view of the broken well apparently never stopped rolling, and the temporary mechanical cap that has mostly contained the oil for eight days held.

The retired Coast Guard admiral in charge of the government's spill response says it's "very good news." But the work that came to a standstill Wednesday will take time to restart. Thad

Allen says it could be Monday before BP resumes drilling on the relief well and Wednesday before crews finish installing steel casing to fortify the relief shaft. He says by Friday, workers could start blasting in heavy mud and cement to permanently seal the well.

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