ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – No damage has been found on a Shell Oil drilling ship that lost its mooring in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor, the Coast Guard said Tuesday.
Coast Guard Lt. Jim Fothergill said video captured by divers shows no damage or signs of grounding by the 571-foot Noble Discoverer, which slipped its anchorage Saturday in winds up to 35 mph, drifting extremely close to shore. Two Coast Guard investigators were aboard the ship Monday during the divers’ inspection and witnessed the live video feed, Fothergill said.
“We are still reviewing the video. However, what I can tell you is that there is no physical evidence that suggests that they hit bottom,” he said. “We believe if they did ground, it was a very soft grounding.”
Earlier footage taken by a remotely operated vehicle also shows no damage, Fothergill said. There also have been no reports of injury or pollution.
The Discoverer, owned by Noble Corp., is among a Shell fleet to soon head north for planned exploratory drilling in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
The ship is now anchored at least 750 yards from land, Fothergill said. It was towed offshore after the mishap.
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said about 120 crew members were on board when the Discoverer dragged anchor. They remain on board gearing up to begin the journey to the Arctic in late July. Smith said the trip will take four or five days, and the company aims to begin drilling in early August.
Drilling in Arctic waters is bitterly opposed by environmental groups and some Alaska Natives. Their lawsuits and permit appeals have prevented Shell Oil Co. from drilling in the Chukchi Sea, where the subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC spent $2.1 billion on leases in 2008. Shell also holds older leases in the Beaufort Sea and hopes to drill exploratory wells this summer in both locations.
Environmentalists say the anchorage problem is yet another reason to question Shell’s Arctic plan, particularly after the same vessel ran into a mooring problem in a severe storm in New Zealand waters last year. The Discoverer had been drilling an exploratory well off the South Taranaki coast.
New Zealand officials say three of eight anchor cables broke after the crew had already disconnected from the oil well when alerted to bad weather approaching. Soon after the incident, Shell officials said there were no injuries or harm to the environment or the well, and that the vessel sustained minor damage and was repaired. The incident was investigated by New Zealand officials, who said no further action was warranted.
Smith said Shell has been excited about the Arctic project for a long time. The Discoverer incident temporarily damped that excitement, he said.
“Anytime something like this happens operationally, you have to take it extremely seriously,” he said. “Our goal is always flawless execution, and when that doesn’t happen _ either in port or offshore _ it’s unacceptable.”
Follow Rachel D’Oro on Twitter at
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them