Shell-leased rig failed safety drills in May

US Coast Guard (USCG) safety drills in May showed Shell’s drilling rig Polar Pioneer was short of readiness, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Citing records released under the US’ Freedom of Information Act, the Chronicle says crew and equipment on the Polar Pioneer, which Shell is leasing from Transocean, were below standard in a fire drill and an abandon ship drill on May 19.

In the intervening months Shell has gained all required approvals for its Arctic drilling operation off Alaska and the Polar Pioneer has been the lead rig in drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

The Chronicle report says that during the fire drill: a crew member failed to locate the nearest fire extinguisher or call box; there was a disconnected fire hose; doors were open; and crew wore improper protective gear.

Given the chance of a do-over, the Polar Pioneer passed follow-up USCG drills on June 2.

The drills were conducted while the Polar Pioneer was moored in Seattle prior to heading north. It was the magnet for much protest by environmental groups.

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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