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 Words in the News
 The world's largest floating oil platform has sunk into the Atlantic a hundred-and-twenty-five kilometers off the coast of Brazil. Tom Gibbs, BBC Brazil correspondent, reports from Sao Paolo.
  AudioListen to the report in full
Brazilian oil rig

22nd March 2001

Brazilian oil platform sinks

 AudioListen to the first part of the report
   Petrobras officials say the platform keeled over and sank despite efforts of salvage teams to save it. So far, there have been no details of the damage it may have caused. Salvage teams had been evacuated from the platform several hours before it sank after it gave a sudden jolt.

They'd been pumping liquid air and nitrogen into the submerged tanks of the platform to try to stabilize it but, with steep waves, they were fighting a losing battle. The last measurement, taken about three hours before the platform sank, shows it was leaning over at an angle of thirty-one degrees. Salvage teams have been saying all week that any boat close by would be in extreme danger of also being sucked into the water.
  AudioListen to the words

keeled over: fell over sideways

salvage: if you salvage something, you manage to save it

jolt: a sudden and violent movement is a jolt

with steep waves: because there were steep waves at this time

fighting a losing battle:struggling unsuccessfully

in extreme danger of also being sucked into the water: if the rig sank, boats near it might also be pulled down

NEWS 2  AudioListen to the second part of the report
   The platform had one-and-a-half-million litres of fuel on board. This will almost certainly leak into the ocean. Ships have been standing by for a cleanup operation. However, officials have been saying that the well-head, almost a mile down on the seabed, should not be damaged as it was not directly beneath the platform.

The fact that the platform has sunk will make it almost impossible to recover the bodies of eight workers who've been missing since the explosions last week. It'll also make it much harder to investigate the causes of the accident. The rig was built in Italy in 1994. There remain unanswered questions as to why the explosion caused so many of the underwater containers of the rig, which normally keep it afloat, to flood.
  AudioListen to the words

standing by: ready to take action

cleanup operation: activity to remove the oil

well-head: machinery on the sea floor at the top of the well

should not be damaged: will probably not be harmed

to flood: to fill with water

  Read about the background in BBC News Online

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