Transcript of the video
A fire on a ship carrying almost 4,000 cars could cause an environmental catastrophe.
Welcome to Learn French with News.
Current events are a great way to improve your language skills and learn vocabulary about the world around you.
Today, we're going to talk about the fire that started overnight, between July 25 and 26, in a cargo ship, in a boat, off the coast of the Netherlands.
I'll explain this news item and all the vocabulary that goes with it.
You can also download the vocabulary sheet for this video by clicking in the description just below.
This worksheet will help you revise your vocabulary, review it and memorize it over the long term.
Today is July 31, 2023. It's been five days since a cargo ship caught fire off the coast of the Netherlands.
This boat is called the Fremantle Highway.
A cargo ship is a vessel generally used to transport goods.
There are boats for transporting people and boats for transporting goods, as is the case with cargo ships.
This boat weighs 18,500 tonnes.
That's around 3,000 elephants.
On board this boat, there are almost 4,000 cars, including around 500 electric cars.
The ship had departed from a port in Germany, bound for Singapore.
The destination is the place of arrival.
His journey also included a stopover at a port in Egypt.
A halt is a stop.
Unfortunately, on the night of July 25 to 26, from Tuesday to Wednesday, a fire broke out on board the boat while it was off the Dutch coast.
The boat is on the high seas and the nearest land is the Netherlands.
A fire is a blaze with flames that will devastate a place, a house, a forest or a boat here.
Today, we still don't know the reason for the fire, the cause of the fire.
But there is a hypothesis.
A hypothesis means we have an idea of what might have happened.
According to the Japanese company that owns the boat, the fire started in one of the electric cars.
We suspect. To suspect means to have a doubt, to suspect.
It is suspected that the battery of one of the electric cars exploded, causing a fire to break out and spread.
The company that owns this boat also owns another boat called the Ever Given.
Maybe the name rings a bell, because in 2021, March 2021, it blocked the Suez Canal for six days.
Due to bad weather conditions, control of the boat was lost. It ran aground in the Suez Canal.
Which is a strategic location for world trade. Failing means it was in a place where there wasn't enough water, so it got stuck.
This event caused major delays in the delivery of goods around the world.
Back to the Fremantle Highway fire.
On this boat, there was a crew of 23 people, 23 sailors. Crews are the people who work to ensure the smooth running of a boat or an airplane, for example.
Sailors are people who work specifically at sea, on boats.
The entire crew is said to be Indian.
The whole crew was evacuated and taken off the boat, but unfortunately one of the sailors died on a lifeboat.
A rescue boat is a boat that comes to the rescue of people in danger or in a complicated situation.
Other crew members were also injured. Extinguishing the fire proved very complicated for a number of reasons.
The fire department and emergency services could not get on board to try to put out the fire. According to the coastguard, the coastguard is the sea police.
That's a simple way of explaining it.
According to the coastguard, the situation was not safe enough. There weren't the safety conditions in place for the fire department, for the emergency services to be able to go directly to the boat to try and contain the fire, if you want to use a complicated word.
That means lowering it.
Then there's another problem.
Sending water directly onto the boat presents a risk of water entering the boat.
This could destabilize the boat.
At present, it's fairly stable on the water, and adding water to it would mean it wouldn't necessarily stand up straight.
It could tilt, tip on its side and then sink with almost 4,000 cars in the sea.
Obviously, this would cause damage. It would be an environmental disaster.
On the evening of July 26, fire-fighting operations were therefore halted.
Extinguishing means stopping a fire.
In fact, we call them fire extinguishers. You can see them in buildings, for example, and they're red cylinders that put out a fire.
Operations were suspended to prevent the cargo ship from sinking.
The Dutch islands near the boat straddle two seas. Between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea.
Straddling means that one part is on one side and the other part is on the other.
This means that in these islands, this archipelago, because that's what we call a group of islands close together in French, this archipelago is partly on one of the seas and the other part is on the other sea.
The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It's a region of great diversity and biodiversity, which means there's a lot of it.
There are more than 10,000 species in the water, underwater, and on land.
So it would be a real disaster if the cargo sank in this area.
On Sunday July 30, the Dutch authorities reported that the fire had subsided, that the temperature on board had also fallen, and that there was less smoke.
So they decided to start towing the boat. We sent two tugs, and two other boats will pull the cargo.
If your car breaks down, you might call a truck to tow it back to the garage.
The aim of this tow was to place the cargo in a temporary area, just for a while.
Two tugs began the journey on Sunday afternoon and arrived at the provisional location at around 11:30 on Monday morning. According to the Dutch authorities, the operation went off without a hitch.
Smoothly means without a hitch. The cargo was moved, towed very slowly so that we could really control the movement and again avoid it sinking or avoiding an ecological disaster.
An oil spill response boat was alongside to intervene in the event of an incident.
An incident is an accident, something that doesn't go as planned.
An oil leak, for example. The location where the freighter has been placed, on a temporary basis, would be a better starting position for the various scenarios envisaged for the future, and also for the weather conditions over the next few days.
Obviously, the long-term aim of the Dutch authorities is to be able to bring the ship back to port.
That's all we know today about this news item.
I hope you enjoyed the video.
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