Shell Evacuates Staff as Tropical Storm Approaches

More than 300 workers leave; production not affected

Anglo-Dutch energy group Royal Dutch Shell said that it had evacuated several hundred staff from the Gulf of Mexico, which is under threat from Tropical Storm Fay.

Shell said it had evacuated 160 staff on Aug. 16 and 200 more on Aug. 17 from the group's East operations area, according to a statement posted on its Web site over the weekend.

"Given the current forecast, as a precautionary measure, we will continue to reduce offshore staffing levels," Shell said.

It added: "There remains no impact to Shell operated production at this time.

"Additional personnel being evacuated today are not essential to current ongoing drilling and production operations."

Tropical Storm Fay pummeled western Cuba early Aug. 18 and barreled toward the Florida Keys after claiming at least 11 lives in the Dominican Republic and Haiti amid forecasts it would hit hurricane force.

Maximum sustained winds from the sixth storm of the Atlantic hurricane season were clocked at 50 miles per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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