The P-36 Has Started To Sink Again

The Petrobras P-36 has started sinking again as rough seas hampered efforts to save the platform. The massive structure has sunk more than 15 feet since a series of explosions damaged one of the support columns on Thursday. Salvage teams trying to pump out water by forcing compressed air and nitrogen into the column are having difficulty reaching the most important compartments some 164 feet below the surface. The platform has up to 9,500 barrels of oil on board, which could leak out if the platform sinks entirely. Petrobras reports that, so far, no oil has leaked from the damaged structure.

The rig had stabilized for one day, raising hopes that it could be saved, but on Sunday night it keeled over even further. However, a spokesman for the state oil giant Petrobras said it was still possible for the P-36 rig to be salvaged, if the bad weather passes quickly as expected. But he said: "There is still no estimate for how long it will take to stabilise the platform." The salvage teams have still not been able to gain access to the submerged pillar where the bodies of the eight missing firefighters are believed to be trapped.