Shell icebreaker heads to Portland for repairs

San Francisco: The icebreaker Fennica, a crucial part of Shell’s Arctic drill fleet, is being sent to a shipyard in Portland, Oregon, to fix the gash in its hull which caused it to turn back from its Alaska destination last week.

Shell maintains it can still be ready to start drilling in Arctic waters by the third week in July.

The Fennica, which is owned by Finnish form Arctia Offshore, is important to the 29-vessel fleet because it carries a piece of emergency equipment called the capping stack, which is designed to contain a blown-out undersea well.

Shell believes it can begin its operation in the Chukchi Sea on schedule, even while the Fennica is in for repairs at Vigor Industrial’s shipyard. The oil giant plans to build the foundations of wells and do other preparatory work before drilling, so the Fennica will not be needed until late August.

The Fennica was in the Unalaska Bay area on July 3 when it incurred the 39-inch by two-inch gash, which was discovered after and a leak in one of its ballast tanks was detected.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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