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Race to rescue missing oil workers

Air and sea search teams have intensified their hunt for 10 missing oil workers as Tropical Storm Nate headed west, threatening new areas of Mexico's gulf coast where hurricane conditions are expected.

Nate is expected to become a hurricane before making landfall later, the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said.

Meanwhile, fishermen groups reported that at least a dozen of their colleagues aboard two Mexican shrimp boats went missing in the gulf on Friday.

Helicopters from the Mexican navy and the state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, left ports along the coast of Tabasco state to scour the sea, while other crews searched the beaches closest to the spot where the 10 abandoned their disabled liftboat for an enclosed life raft in the storm about midday on Thursday.

"The hope is that we find them alive at sea," said one navy rescuer searching the beach at Frontera on the Tabasco coast.

The missing include four US workers, four Mexican workers, one worker from Kazakhstan and a 10th of unconfirmed nationality.

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