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The Shell drilling ship, the Noble Discoverer, one of two on their way to start exploring for oil in the Arctic waters of Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, recently dragged its anchor and drifted towards the shore of an Alaskan island.
Both Shell and the Coast Guard claim that the ship is not damaged in anyway and shows no sign of having grounded. They say that the ship only came within 100 yards of the shore before it was recovered and towed back out to see to be re-anchored on Saturday. However, Kristjan Laxfoss, a Dutch harbour captain said that he was of the opinion that the ship came far closer to the shore, and actually grounded on the sea bed below.
“There’s no question it hit the beach,” he said. “That ship was not coming any closer. It was on the beach.”
The soft, sandy sea bed in the area along with the 35mph winds, allowed the ship to drag its anchor and move towards the shore.
Conservation groups protesting Arctic oil exploration have used this incident to highlight their worries. Greenpeace released a statement saying, that “Shell can’t keep its drill rig under control in a protected harbor, so what will happen when it faces 20 foot swells and sea ice while drilling in the Arctic?”
The ship will now be moved to the Dutch Harbour city pier where divers will inspect the exterior, whilst the Coast Guard inspect the interior. So far no sign of damage has been reported, and no oil has been spilled.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com