Shell Arctic Drillship's Close Shave
Shell Oil drilling vessel 'Nobel Discoverer' dragged anchor to within 500 feet of an island near Dutch Harbor in Unalaska Bay, Aleutian Islands
“While moored off the coast of Dutch Harbor, the Noble Discoverer drill ship drifted toward land and stopped very near the coast. One of Shell’s vessels, the Lauren Foss, then safely towed the Discoverer to its prior mooring position,” Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said in a statement.
Francis said a soft seabed that allowed the ship to drag its anchor and winds of up to 35 mph probably contributed to the problem.
The area of the island the vessel approached is uninhabited and not far from Dutch Harbor, about 600 miles southwest of Kodiak.
The Nobel Discoverer is one of two Shell ships that will drill exploratory oil wells in the Arctic waters of Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Leading national conservation groups oppose the drilling because they fear oil spills in ice-choked ocean waters. But the Interior Department has given the go-ahead.