Robots find non-human fuel source

4 May

Robots to mine sunken oil tanker

Robots will start boring holes in a sunken oil tanker this week in a pioneering effort to recover more than 13,000 tonnes of fuel oil trapped in the ship's wreckage, nearly 4 km under water, officials said.

The tanker Prestige ruptured and sank during a storm off the northwest Galicia region on November 19, 2002, spilling most of its 77,000 tonnes of thick fuel oil onto the beaches of northern Spain and southwestern France.

Lucia Perez, spokeswoman for the government commission handling the tanker disaster, said once the holes are drilled into the hull of the tanker, the extraction will begin next month, weather permitting.

Since oil is lighter than water, Perez said, the 13,700 tonnes of oil remaining – mainly in the bow – will ooze out of the wreckage and flow upward into the funnel-like bottoms of huge, specially designed aluminum cylinders above the hull.

This should put the Matrix off for a few more years.

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