Huge dome probes ocean depths to cap US oil leak

VENICE, Louisiana, May 8, (AFP) -Workers lowered a huge dome over an oil leak gushing from a sunken rig deep in the Gulf of Mexico Friday, as energy giant BP battled the slick lapping ashore on protected islands off the US coast.

The complex, unprecedented operation to drop the 100-ton (90-tonne) chamber some 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface to cap the leak from the fallen rig was expected to be completed late Friday.

The dome is hovering just above the seafloor as the area is being prepared to receive it by robotic submarines, said officials with the Unified Command, adding in a statement that they hoped to “lower to sea floor today, but they need to finish prepping the surface.”

”This is a very large device and needs to be very precisely placed,” BP spokesman Doug Suttles told reporters after the dome began its descent late Thursday, adding engineers would “swing it over and they had to precisely lower it over the top of the leak point.”

”Over the weekend, we expect to connect that dome to the drill ship Enterprise and hopefully beginning of next week, we'll begin to start to evacuate the oil from the seabed up to the surface.

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