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Natural gas rig had problems before it sunk

An offshore natural gas platform that sank off Venezuela encountered problems last year before being hired by the Venezuelan government, an official in nearby Trinidad and Tobago said Friday.

Lieutenant Kirk Jean-Baptiste, spokesman for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, confirmed that authorities received a distress call from the rig Aban Pearl platform Aug. 14 because it was tilting after one of its floating devices was damaged.

He said that by the time the Coast Guard arrived, those aboard the rig had been able to correct the problem.

The platform sank off Venezuela on Thursday after all 95 workers aboard safely evacuated. Venezuela authorities are investigating what led to the sinking.

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