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Words in the News
Monday 07 October 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

   tanker Limburg burning
Super tanker oil slick
Summary: Oil is leaking from the French super tanker, the Limburg, which was badly damaged by an explosion off the eastern coast of Yemen. The ship's owners say the Limburg has been the target of a terrorist attack, but the Yemeni authorities insist it was an accident. This report from Heba Saleh:
The News Listen  
  Yemeni experts who flew over the Arabian Sea say that crude oil is spilling out of the ruptured hull of the Limburg. They saw several oil slicks but could not evaluate their size. Thick columns of black smoke are also still rising from the burning tanker, which has drifted out to sea.

French investigators are now expected in Yemen to assist in an enquiry into the causes of the blast. The Yemeni authorities say there was an accident aboard the tanker, but the ship's owners insist it was a deliberate attack. They say the Limburg was rammed by a high speed boat, packed with explosives. Only a very strong force, they say, could have penetrated the double hull of such a modern tanker.

A French diplomat in Yemen initially endorsed this explanation. He said it was in the style of the Al-Qaeda attack on the American warship, the USS Cole, two years ago in the Yemeni port of Aden. The French government, however, has adopted a more cautious line. Paris said a judgement could only be made after an investigation.

Al-Qaeda members are known to have sought sanctuary in Yemen's tribal heartlands, but after September the 11th the government decided it could no longer afford to tolerate their presence. It launched a crackdown which has netted some one hundred suspects. Its efforts have earned it praise from the United States, which has provided military advisors.

Heba Saleh, BBC, Cairo

The Words Listen
burst open, broken

the main body of a ship

  oil slicks
layers of oil floating on water


hit very hard

broken through

agreed with

  sought sanctuary
looked for a safe place to stay

strong, official action to stop unlawful activity

resulted in the capture of

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