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The firm is now preparing to drop a 100-tonne 40-foot containment dome over the site of the leaking oil.

The dome was loaded aboard a transport vessel at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and is expected to be lowered to the seabed today (May 6).

For the past two weeks the firm has battled to contain what US president Barak Obama has described as an ‘unprecedented’ disaster.

However, BP said this morning that despite closing one of three leaks the flow of the oil was unlikely to be affected.

A spokesman said: “A valve that had been attached to the end of a broken drill pipe, one of the three points from which oil was leaking, was closed.

“This has stopped the flow from this point, but is not expected to affect the overall rate of flow from the well.

“BP continues to use remotely operated vehicles to monitor the flow of oil from the other two leak points.”

The drilling of the first relief well, which began on Sunday (May 2), continues, it’s estimated that it will take three months to complete.

More than 11,000 people have so far volunteered to assist in efforts to protect the coastline and in the clean-up of any spill, while more than 4,000 have already received training.

Luke Walsh

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