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Jun 29, 2010 1:26 PM by Greg Boyce

Skimmers called back to shore in rough seas

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP and the Coast Guard are sending oil-scooping skimming ships in the Gulf of Mexico back to shore because nasty weather is churning up rough seas and powerful winds.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Dave French said Tuesday that all efforts had been halted for now off the Louisiana coast. Although Tropical Storm Alex was projected to stay well away from the spill zone before possibly making landfall as a hurricane over Mexico, its outer edges were causing problems out in the Gulf.  Wayne Hebert, who helps manage skimming operations for BP, says all nearshore skimmers were idled off the coasts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

Waves were as high as 12 feet Tuesday in some parts of the Gulf. The surging waves and nasty weather make skimming work unsafe and ineffective, and also can mangle oil-soaking boom.

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