USCG blames Fennica grounding on outdated charts

The US Coast Guard (USCG) found that out-of-date navigational charts were to blame for the grounding of the icebreaker Fennica in Alaskan waters last year.

The Fennica became grounded in Dutch Harbour in July 2015 while it was transporting a capping stack for Shell’s then-controversial planned drilling campaign in the Chukchi Sea.

Fennica, owned by Finnish company Arctia, suffered a three-foot gash in its hull which forced it to return to port.

It was one of several mishaps to affect Shell’s project, which was also a lure for environmentalist protesters. Shell eventually pulled out of its Arctic venture, relinquishing nearly all of its drilling rights there and citing lack of commercially viable wells.

USCG’s report on the incident was released by the Finnish Safety Investigation Authority. It found that the Fennica’s gash was caused by contact with an uncharted pinnacle and that the charts in use were based on soundings made in 1935.

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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