Coast Guard Determines Drill Rig Did Not Ground
Tuesday, July 17 2012
Divers inspected the hull of Shell’s drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, Monday night and determined that the rig never touched bottom when it dragged anchor on Saturday. Coast Guard Lieutenant Jim Fothergill says investigators watched a live feed of the hull inspection from aboard the ship.
“We were able to find no physical evidence of any damage that would have been caused by a grounding.”
Fothergill didn’t rule out the possibility of a soft grounding – that wouldn’t have casused damage ot the hull -- and says that for the Coast Guard’s purposes, the incident is still being investigated as a marine casualty.
“We want to do our best to find ways to prevent things like this from happening again.”
Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith says the company has moved past the question of whether the rig ran aground or not.
“The bigger issue is that we had a vessel move that should not have. Our aspiration, always, is to be operationally flawless. Obviously that was not the case. It’s something that we take really seriously and frankly, it’s unacceptable, we have to find out why it happened, investigate, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The Noble Discoverer is still anchored just offshore in Unalaska Bay, but Shell may move the vessel to a different mooring in coming days.