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Assignment: pipeline

A diver on an oil rig in the ice northern waters must first learn to fear the
ocean. Then he must learn to respect it.
The unpredictable waters off the coast of Norway are cold and rough. Few men
dare to tangle with the unforeseen hazards of diving beneath this treacherous
ocean, but not Michael Aims and Glenn Rose. After months of exhausting
professional training, Michael and Glenn were a team and it was not long
before word of their skill and daring made its way to one of the largest oil
companies in the world. The offer was an outstanding one and the two
aggressive divers accepted a stand-by post on an oil rig in the waters off
Norway. Immediately thereafter, arrangements were made for their arrival.
As the long ship approached the rig site, Michael and Glenn saw the towers
reaching up towards the sky and cranes extending out over the dark water
from their angular posts. The large, square drilling platform stood triumphantly
as if daring the strength of the open waters to disturb its important business.
The divers looked upon their new home as they were hoisted aboard the noisy,
crowded platform, saving silent fond good byes to solid land for at least fifteen
days. The supervisor, Kevin, greeted his two new members and went about the
business of introducing them to the other four divers on the team. The
company had now succeeded in acquiring six outstanding men for hazardous
duties. As Kevin and all of the divers knew, any momentary halt in production
could cost the company quite a large sum of money.
Kevin was a rather large, husky man with a full beard and a thick mustache. He
was the divers supervisor, the man in charge of issuing assignments and
coordinating work. Kevins most important job, however, was keeping an even
atmosphere in very tight quarters by continuously observing the stability of his
teams mental health. At the present time, the divers were battling the threats
of boredom, since drilling would not start for another few days. Kevin had them
maintaining equipment on the surface of the rig and pitching in as part-time
electricians and mechanics just as they would do in the future between diving
assignments and following some type of work schedule were essential factors
for mutual relations in the isolated community. When Michael and Glenn settled
down to sleep that night, they looked forward to the excitement and challenges
that their profession would soon offer.
Drilling began three days later and there was much less free time for everyone.
The production platform was based over an offshore oil field and a few
individual wells were in the process of being drilled. Michael and Glenn were
standing by.

"You two fellows prepare to dive for equipment checks, said Kevin, his hands
resting in the deep pockets of his wide-legged pants. The bell is ready when
you are.
Michael and Glenn donned their suits and gear and reported to the diving bell.
The diving system was an efficient one, the type in which all oil firms were now
investing. The main controls were in a large unit on the platform Containing
both decompression and saturation
chambers, this unit would house the
divers after deep dives while decompressing. Between long dives it would
maintain the same underwater atmosphere so that decompression would not
be necessary until the entire series of dives was completed.
Michael and Glenn joined the bell man in the submersible diving chamber,
known as a diving bell. This pressurized chamber would allow the divers to
survey the underwater area in question through a porthole before actually
entering the water. The door was sealed and the control man lowered the bell
over the side. Swinging from a heavy cable, the bell plunged through the rough
water and down to the area of the cover equipment on top of the newly dug
wells. The bell could not offer a clear enough view to verify Michaels
momentary observation. The bell man controlled the proper breathing mixture
and Michael exited through the bottom hatch, his airline trailing behind him.
Glenn followed closely as they prepared to inspect the sites. Coming upon the
designated well, it was just as Michael had suspected One of the joints was split
Michael motioned to Glenn to return to the bell for the needed welding
equipment. At this great depth, electric-arc tools, using great electric current to
obtain high temperatures, replaced the usual gas-powered welding tools. Glenn
returned with the arc tool and assisted Michael in the melting and sealing of
the iron joint. As the divers worked, they became aware of the increasing
turbulence and poor visibility. Michael used the arc tool with one hand, holding
an adjoining pipe with the other for stability. Glenn relieved Michael towards
the end, completing the tedious job through the adverse conditions. Reentering the submersible chamber, the bell man gave them the news of a
serious pipeline break and a warning of an approaching storm. Michael
expressed his willingness to repair the break and Glenn shook his head in
assent. The ability to be adaptable was one of the most important
qualifications for professional divers and Mike and Glenn were always ready.
We have to do it now," said Glenn in a strange voice, showing the results of
the helium gas in the bell. Michael winked and smiled indicating that it was a
mutual decision. The bell man called up to verify the exact location of the
pipeline break. While the chamber was moved to the area of the problem, the
two divers had a momentary pause in action. The bell was beginning to be
pushed about in the rough waters and visibility was becoming worse by the
minute. Glenn slipped out through the hatch first this time, and Michael
followed, carrying the necessary tools. Glenn seemed to have a special instinct

for directions and location and he isolated the leak instantly. Michael held the
equipment tightly as the divers were jostled around in the cold, swelling
waters. Glenn straddled the sea-floor pipe and maneuvered the tool carefully
with his icy hands. Michael kept careful watch on all the connecting lines and
held onto some adjacent fittings where he waited anxiously to assist Glenn at
any given moment. Because they were adaptable, the divers could exchange
jobs or change an unsuccessful method without question. But there was no
time for experimenting, with adverse tides threatening their every move. The
very next instant, the storm was upon them and it was even worse than the
brief preview has suggested.
Glenn kept working in the midst of swirling sand and icy water, and Michael
tried desperately to keep the air hoses and tool lines free as the bell bounced
excitedly in the violent seas. Both divers clutched onto their only concrete
connections, out that was not enough. Blinded by the churning sand, Michael
reached in front of Glenn's are tool by mistake, in an effort to regain his
position, and severed his airline. Unable to determine direction in the clouded
sea, he began to swim away from the chamber.
Not finding Michael anywhere in sight, Glenn abandoned his task and swam
quickly in Michaels general area. He found him, grabbed onto him, and headed
him back towards the pressurized bell. The bell man opened the hatch and
pulled confused and breathless diver to safety, then waited for Glenn.
The aggressive diver was determined to complete his task and, relying on his
instinct, Glenn returned to the problem area. It was becoming very difficult to
keep still and his hands were colder than ever. Soon the job would be finished.
Glenn kept calm because he knew that there would be no support arriving. He
was sure that the bell man had received a plea for permission to bring them
all up long ago. Gradually, Michael regained his strength and re-entered the
stormy sea. Making his way to Glenn, he took over the repairs while Glenn
looked on. Michael raised his arm triumphantly and the pipeline was sealed.
The two divers clung to each other with great satisfaction. Then, safely within
the bell, they were hoisted through the turbulent waters and into the howling
winds above. The bell was locked onto the platform and the three men entered
the decompression chamber where they would remain for the next few days.
After they abandoned their diving suits, showered and slipped into warm, dry
beds.
Glenn's head began to spin as he reflected on the events of the last two hours,
but he knew that he and Michael would make it. Michael looked over at his
friend with exhaustion written on his smiling face.
"Thanks pal," he said softIy, "I owe you one."

Assignment: Pipeline
COMPREHENSION CHECK
Choose the best answer.
Preview Answer
a. Michael and Glenn readily accepted the challenge of working on an oil rig.
1. Glenn and Michael
a) Trusted each other implicitly.
b) Did not work effectively together.
c) Were more confident on their own.
d) Hated deep water dives.
2. A diving bell is
a) a loud sounding instrument that can impair a divers hearing.
b) a pressurized chamber used to survey underwater sights.
c) an unusual pressurized diving suit for deep water dives.
d) a set of large bulky tanks carried on a divers back.
3. The helium gas mixture
a) cannot be piped through airline.
b) has no effect on divers at all.
c) is the only air mixture ever used by divers.
d) obviously affects a divers voice.
4. Professional diving is
a) similar to scuba diving for sport.
b) different from scuba diving in many ways.
c) a job just like any other occupation.
d) a job that does not require much skill.
5. Electric arc tools

a) are the same as regular surface tools.


b) are powered by high currents.
c) are not used under water.
d) present no risk to the user.
6. First, Michael and Glen plunged through the rough water in the diving
chamber. Then, they surveyed the area in question. Next,
a) Michael and Glenn entered the water through the hatch.
b) the supervisor warned of an approaching storm.
c) the divers returned to the surface.
d) the bell man entered the churning water to assist.
7. A strong psychological attitude is
a) not an asset in an oil platform crew.
b) necessary for professional divers to possess.
c) a real disadvantage for bold, efficient divers.
d) a rare thing among professional divers.
8. Michael had to be escorted to the diving bell because
a) he was without air and confused..
b) he became weary and weak.
c) a storm was approaching.
d) Glenn was annoyed at him.
9. Another name for this selection could be
a) "Oil for the Future."
b) "Life in Norway."
c) "Challenging the Sea."
d) "Diving Systems of Tomorrow."
10. This selection is mainly about
a) the helium effect on divers.

b) the dangers of Norwegian waters.


c) the organization of an oil rig.
d) being a diver on an isolated oil rig.
11. Develop your own sentences using any four key words found in the box on
the following page.