Shell Drill ship Runs Aground

Here’s a bit more from the Dutch Harbor Telegraph

The Noble Discoverer on the beach

15 July 2012


Shell workers scramble to the beach in Dutch Harbor to assess the situation with the drilling ship Noble Discoverer.

Shell’s drilling ship Noble Discoverer dragged anchor in a stiff breeze Saturday evening and the stern of the vessel bumped into the beach in front of Dutch Harbor’s Grand Aleutian Hotel. After an hour stuck on the beach the large vessel was pulled free by the tug Lauren Foss.

At the time of the grounding Shell’s drilling rig Kulluk was being towed by the Aiviq into Captain’s Bay, headed for it’s mooring at OSI. The tug Gyrfalcon was pulled off the Kulluk to assist with the Noble Discoverer. At that time the Aiviq, Shell’s new icebreaker, changed direction and began towing the Kulluk back out to sea.

There was no apparent damage to the Noble Discoverer, but divers probably will check below the water line for possible damage to the rudder or propeller.

The Nobel Discoverer is a 514 ft, 13485 gross tonnage drilling ship originally built in 1965 in Japan as a bulk carrier. It is of Liberian registry. In 1976 the ship was adapted for drilling by a New Orleans shipyard.

Shell’s fleet of drilling and support ships is in Dutch Harbor waiting for Bearing Sea ice to retreat sufficiently for them to begin drilling test wells.

Rob, this is the location of the grounding based on the perspective in the photos and relative locations of the airport, Hog Island and the rocks in the foreground. Also one report says “in front of the Grand Aleutian Hotel” and the reference of “Airport Road” repeatedly used.:

smack in front of the Hotel Grand Aleutian where I am sure every Shell bigwig was sitting in the bar when someone yelled, “hey the Discoverer is aground right outside”! Can you imagine the kick in the gut feeling that left! Drinks probably were flying as people ran outside to see for themselves.

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The state of Alaska has two anchorages available in that area for vessels greater than 20k GT, but I would think that using DWT be a better number to go with vs. GT. What’s the DWT of the DISCO? Anyone know? Can we confirm which anchorage they were in?

Reports indicate that the USCG found no damage or signs that the DISCO struck bottom today. Just tried calling the D17 media number to confirm, but nobody answered.

[QUOTE=rob;74738]Just tried calling the D17 media number to confirm, but nobody answered.[/QUOTE]

Try calling the D17 Command Center instead, it is manned 24/7 and the if the Crisis Action Center is set-up and running, that is where the Public Affairs guys and gals would be.

You might also try the Public Affairs Office in Kodiak since that is office Dutch Harbor is under and if that does not work, call SECTOR Anchorage.

Well, if this does not end the Drilling up there nothing will!!! Greenpeace could not have hoped for anything better.

Let’s all hope they figure this out and can get back there with a better plan.

I thought we’re using cruiserforum.com now?? Lol

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;74710] He should have consulted his Chapmans on how to set his scope right.[/QUOTE]

He needs to get the Yacht Club Commodore on the scene!

Rob,

There is a pre-incident photo in one local newspaper showing the DISCO at its anchorage. Might check that.

http://dutchharbortelegraph.com/ Maybe this is just an online thng. Anyway…

Scroll down a bit, it seems to be in reverse chronological order and there is a routine photo of the ship amongst some entertaining local news.

No sightings of The Commodore were reported however.

Yet

[QUOTE=rob;74738]The state of Alaska has two anchorages available in that area for vessels greater than 20k GT, but I would think that using DWT be a better number to go with vs. GT. What’s the DWT of the DISCO? Anyone know? Can we confirm which anchorage they were in?

Reports indicate that the USCG found no damage or signs that the DISCO struck bottom today. Just tried calling the D17 media number to confirm, but nobody answered.[/QUOTE]

In every report I have read the vessel was anchored between Hog Island and Amaknak Island and drug anchor to ground her stern in the vicinity of Cave Rock opposite Margaret Bay which is confirmed based on the relative positions of Hog Island and the airport in the photos. I know this from having worked in and all over DH for over 20 years. I marked the exact location in my chartlet provided my my previous post.

The stern most certainly struck bottom and any report to the contrary is a pure fabrication bordering on outright lies. Maybe the hull didn’t take the ground but that stern sure as hell did!

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From KUCB Unalaska Public Broadcasting

[B]Shell Drill Ship Runs Aground in Unalaska [/B]

By Lauren Rosenthal and Stephanie Joyce

Saturday, July 14 2012

Shell Oil has run into a number of problems with its Arctic drilling plans over the last few days. The Coast Guard refused to certify its oil spill containment barge as it stands, the EPA is reviewing the Noble Discoverer drill rig’s air permits – and now, there may be damage to the rig itself.

The Noble Discoverer appears to have run aground in Unalaska on Saturday afternoon.

Despite rain and 35-knot winds, more than a dozen residents came to Airport Beach to watch the Shell’s contract tugboat Lauren Foss straining to pull the rig back out to sea.

Longshoreman David Howard was one of the onlookers. Howard says he noticed something wrong with the 500-foot rig earlier in the afternoon.

“I’m just like anybody else driving by, you see it getting closer and closer, you know it’s dragging anchor and that they probably ought to get a tug on it.”

Howard says he thinks the Shell crew got lucky.

“Fortunately, where it got grounded, it was pretty soft in here,” he says. “There’s not a big bunch of sharp rocks out there. It’s fortunate to have gone up here rather than out on the S-curves, where there’s a lot of rocky areas that might compromise the hull.”

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith says the company has activated a dive team to inspect the hull, which could help determine whether the ship actually touched bottom.

Shell is also evaluating the Noble Discoverer’s mooring system to determine how the vessel moved toward shore, he says. But Smith did not say that the ship had run aground.

“Today, while moored off the coast of Dutch Harbor, the Noble Discoverer drill ship drifted toward land and stopped very near the coast,” he says.

The Coast Guard is also investigating the incident.

The Noble Discoverer has been in Unalaska since last Saturday, along with a flotilla of support vessels. It’s supposed to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea next month.

To see more photos of the Noble Discoverer at Airport Beach, visit our Facebook page.

from KUCB Unalaska Community Broadcasting

[B][U]Shell Drill Ship Runs Aground in Unalaska[/U] [/B]

By Lauren Rosenthal and Stephanie Joyce

Saturday, July 14 2012

Shell Oil has run into a number of problems with its Arctic drilling plans over the last few days. The Coast Guard refused to certify its oil spill containment barge as it stands, the EPA is reviewing the Noble Discoverer drill rig’s air permits – and now, there may be damage to the rig itself.

The Noble Discoverer appears to have run aground in Unalaska on Saturday afternoon.

Despite rain and 35-knot winds, more than a dozen residents came to Airport Beach to watch the Shell’s contract tugboat Lauren Foss straining to pull the rig back out to sea.

Longshoreman David Howard was one of the onlookers. Howard says he noticed something wrong with the 500-foot rig earlier in the afternoon.

“I’m just like anybody else driving by, you see it getting closer and closer, you know it’s dragging anchor and that they probably ought to get a tug on it.”

Howard says he thinks the Shell crew got lucky.

“Fortunately, where it got grounded, it was pretty soft in here,” he says. “There’s not a big bunch of sharp rocks out there. It’s fortunate to have gone up here rather than out on the S-curves, where there’s a lot of rocky areas that might compromise the hull.”

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith says the company has activated a dive team to inspect the hull, which could help determine whether the ship actually touched bottom.

Shell is also evaluating the Noble Discoverer’s mooring system to determine how the vessel moved toward shore, he says. But Smith did not say that the ship had run aground.

“Today, while moored off the coast of Dutch Harbor, the Noble Discoverer drill ship drifted toward land and stopped very near the coast,” he says.

The Coast Guard is also investigating the incident.

The Noble Discoverer has been in Unalaska since last Saturday, along with a flotilla of support vessels. It’s supposed to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea next month.

To see more photos of the Noble Discoverer at Airport Beach, visit our Facebook page.

Here’s a nice shot to give a bit better perspective of the location of the ship relative to the beach

She didn’t go aground “rolls eyes” I would say she’s sniffing the bottom there for sure.

I am completely ignorant to the whole drilling thing, as I am a mere east coast tugboater, so please put the pointy sticks away.

What exactly does a ship like this do? Does it drill like a "pilot’ hole in the bottom for the oil rig to drill into? I see its Liberian flagged, what sort of nationality would the master be?

Im also wondering why in the world no one noticed this massive rig of a ship dragging anchor, surely someone was on watch and keeping an eye on the radar/plotters. It seems they would have the engines on stand-by if they knew a storm was coming in case they had to run into the wind so as not to strain the anchors.

The tree-huggers are thanking whoever they thank right now as Shell and Nobel just handing them the biggest piece of ammo they have right now. Im all for drilling, but it has to be done in an environmentally safe way especially up there.

I am completely ignorant to the whole drilling thing, as I am a mere east coast tugboater, so please put the pointy sticks away.

What exactly does a ship like this do? Does it drill like a "pilot’ hole in the bottom for the oil rig to drill into? I see its Liberian flagged, what sort of nationality would the master be?

Im also wondering why in the world no one noticed this massive rig of a ship dragging anchor, surely someone was on watch and keeping an eye on the radar/plotters. It seems they would have the engines on stand-by if they knew a storm was coming in case they had to run into the wind so as not to strain the anchors.

  1. The ship drills exploratory wells including spudding in, cementing, running casing, landing the blowout preventer and drilling to the target depth

  2. The masters are both Americans

  3. Yes you would think that the master aboard at the time would have a continuously manned bridge for maintaining a proper anchor watch per the practice of good seamanship. Also one would think that a plan would be in place should an anchor fail to hold and instructions left as exactly what the mate on watch was to do if he suspected the anchor was dragging Those are usually in a master’s standing and night orders. Was there such a watch at the time on the bridge? This did not happen at 0200 so let us not suspect persons asleep but perhaps on the internet? Who the hell knows?

  4. the pointy sticks will NOT be kept at shoulder arms. Pointy sticks are carried to be used and used they shall.

Thing about pointy sticks is anyone can use one…even disgruntled ex employees who were run off a ship within 24 hrs of arrival and let go from a company for a bad case of Internet verbal diarrhea…

[QUOTE=rigdvr;74791]Thing about pointy sticks is anyone can use one…even disgruntled ex employees who were run off a ship within 24 hrs of arrival and let go from a company for a bad case of Internet verbal diarrhea…[/QUOTE]

Ah but it was not I who allowed a party of red rubber suited “warriors” walk up the gangway of my ship and place it in the media spotlight for five days or then allowed the same ship to drag anchor and ground in broad daylight while the whole world is watching. No sir I am not to one who failed.

btw, what’s with the wild hair over me anyway? I don’t know who you are…

double btw. tell me where I am factually wrong in any of my posts in this thread? You been to Dutch Harbor? Are you a master? Do you believe that the rudder or the shoe under the rudder did not ground?

triple btw, if people at Noble is reading these post, I am not shitting on you over this incident…I am shitting on the man you continue to maintain in command while the person has failed repeatedly. If you still feel he is the best man for the job then oh well, there’s still a couple months of drilling ahead and I hope that no more gross failures of judgement occur. Lots at risk here you guys. Do you still want to keep going down this road?

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Oh how Shell and the USCG spin like tops over this one…

Shell cameras find no damage to drilling rig

Company, Coast Guard say ship drifted near shore, didn’t ground.

By LISA DEMER

(07/15/12 22:30:14)

A Shell Oil Co. drilling rig that slipped its anchor Saturday evening in Dutch Harbor and drifted close to shore never grounded and there’s no evidence it suffered any damage, according to Shell and the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident, as is Shell and Noble Corp., which owns and runs the Noble Discoverer rig for Shell. It’s one of several issues that Shell is working on with regulators in the final weeks before it hopes to begin drilling in the Alaska Arctic.

Shell has inspected the hull underwater with a remotely operated vehicle and found no abrasions that would indicate the ship ran aground, officials said. It plans to send divers to check further on Monday, said Pete Slaiby, a Shell vice president who is overseeing the company’s Alaska operations.

“Any kind of incident like this – a near miss – is unacceptable, and we need to investigate why things happened the way they did,” Slaiby said.

High winds in Dutch Harbor on Saturday afternoon probably led to the ship drifting, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara Francis. Winds of 27 mph were reported with gusts of 35 mph, she said. A Coast Guard report Saturday saying that the ship only came within 175 yards of shore when witnesses said it got much closer was incorrect, Francis acknowledged. The ship, which Shell said has a 26-foot draft, had been anchored 175 yards out when it began to drag anchor, she said.

The Coast Guard is monitoring the situation. It will conduct its own inspection of the ship and review Shell’s videos and diver reports, Francis said.

Based on reports from the ship, “there was no evidence of damage to the hull or of the vessel grounding,” Francis said.

The crew on board noticed the ship moving, and the Lauren Foss tugboat quickly attached a line to the ship and began pulling it to deeper water, Slaiby said. The tug is part of the Shell fleet and was on standby with engines running, which was the plan for dealing with a drifting ship. The Discoverer fired up its engines, too.

“The incident really took about 28 minutes from start to stop,” Slaiby said.

What happened won’t affect Shell’s plans to drill exploratory wells later this summer in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, according to Shell and the Coast Guard.

“A vessel slipping anchor at an anchorage, while not a common event, is not rare, either,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, the Washington, D.C.-based head spokesman. He is in Alaska for a month to monitor and learn more about expanding Arctic operations.

“There’s no reason to think operations won’t continue as planned by Shell,” O’Neil said.

Greenpeace, which is opposed to drilling in the Arctic and following the Shell operation closely, immediately criticized the company.

“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?” Jackie Dragon, who is taking the lead on the Greenpeace Arctic campaign, said in a written statement. Efforts to speak with her Sunday were unsuccessful. She is on board the Esperanza, which is headed to the Chukchi Sea with research submarines and other equipment to study the area where Shell plans to drill.

That’s an invalid comparison, Slaiby said. In the harbor, Shell used a single ship’s anchor, which he said is standard, even for big ships. When Shell drills, it will secure the rig with eight, massive anchors in what’s called a “spread mooring system.”

“It runs out thousands of feet, 360 degrees,” Slaiby said. That kind of system would interfere with shipping in a harbor, he said.

The oil company still is working through other environmental and safety issues with regulators. The generators that provide power for drilling and utilities on the Discoverer – a 1960s-era converted log carrier – don’t meet emission levels set out in an Environmental Protection Agency air quality permit that took Shell years to secure. Shell’s application for the permit was fought by environmental groups, Alaska Native organizations and a Fairbanks resident, Daniel Lum.

After spending more than $30 million to retrofit the ship with various emission control systems, Shell concluded that meeting the standards for the generators in its air permit isn’t technically possible, according to its application for a revised permit. It’s trying to get a waiver for this drilling season and to reach agreement with the EPA for a revised permit for next year. Slaiby said that emissions for the rig as a whole won’t exceed the standards, but that the specific generators at issue go above the levels set for them. Lum, an Inupiaq who now lives in Fairbanks, already has vowed to fight any proposal that would allow more pollution into the air.

Meanwhile, Shell still is trying to get Coast Guard approval for a barge that will carry oil spill response equipment and a system for containing and handling oil from an out-of-control well. Slaiby said that system is voluntary, but federal regulators have indicated that it must pass inspection in order for Shell to receive permits to drill individual wells.

Shell is gearing up to send the Discoverer to drill three exploratory wells on the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea and a second rig, the Kulluk, to drill two wells on the Sivilliq prospect in the Beaufort Sea. It is trying to become the first oil company to produce oil from the Alaska Arctic and has spent about $4 billion acquiring leases and outfitting and building specialized ships and support vessels.

Its flotilla is in Dutch Harbor resupplying and waiting for the sea ice to melt so that the drilling rigs can get to their targets. Shell plans for the ships to leave the last week of July.

Reach Lisa Demer at ldemer@adn.com or 257-4390.

But we know that the hull didn’t get damaged when the rudder stopped the ship from drifting astern any farther. What happened to the rudder is what I want to know?

My understanding is he wasn’t there. Sorry to ruin your witch hunt.

As for what I have against you…well I’ve seen your type. Why not be honest, you do not like Noble b/c they fired you. You don’t like the Disco b/c they ran you off. You have more agendas than a politician. You play keyboard cowboy here like this is your personal kingdom and we should all bask in your infinite correctness. You wield your “pointy little stick” provoking others to take part in your little games.

Instead of concern for the possible industry impact from this, you are so excited, happy even, to pile on with a child like “nanny nanny boo boo,”.

Where you enjoy provoking others and trying to shout the loudest, I like to call you out on it.

[QUOTE=rigdvr;74802]My understanding is he wasn’t there. Sorry to ruin your witch hunt.

As for what I have against you…well I’ve seen your type. Why not be honest, you do not like Noble b/c they fired you. You don’t like the Disco b/c they ran you off. You have more agendas than a politician. You play keyboard cowboy here like this is your personal kingdom and we should all bask in your infinite correctness. You wield your “pointy little stick” provoking others to take part in your little games.

Instead of concern for the possible industry impact from this, you are so excited, happy even, to pile on with a child like “nanny nanny boo boo,”.

Where you enjoy provoking others and trying to shout the loudest, I like to call you out on it.[/QUOTE]

Well I will the first to admit that I have a hard on for one particular master there but even the other guy is hardly blameless. Discredit is certainly warranted in the light of that ship’s record. Whoever was in command the other day, a major failure occurred and that master was VERY lucky that the ship did not come to ground about 600’ further towards the west. I still am not convinced the shoe under the rudder isn’t damaged but if it isn’t then that master’s luck is even greater.

Rigdvr, you obviously don’t like me and what I say here which is your right and you’re free to feel as such, yet I get to reply to you that I’m honored by the members of this forum for having bestowed to me the highest reputation rating on gCaptain so somebody must like my posts and what I say here. I am not going to pick a fight with you and I will continue my posts just as I have been.

Also btw, I am a huge proponent of arctic energy development and have been quite vocal here in that support. I do think that Shell is not going about getting started in a very publicly acceptable way. I want them to succeed and am distressed at the poor start this year. Noble seems to be letting them down and it certainly seems that one particular rig is not doing anything to help that. What’s so disappointing is that all of this is very avoidable but Noble has a way of thinking and acting that is bringing discredit upon themselves. If Noble people read this forum and hold my posts against me then so be it. I used to support them publicly here but in the light of being set up (which I was whether you might think so or not) I feel no reason to not call them out for their failings. Somebody was available to them who had decades of DH and Alaska experience. That obviously wasn’t something they considered as important. Been anchored off DH many many times and none of my ships ever dragged their anchor and ended up on the beach.

oh well, so it goes…let’s see if that rudder is ok or not.

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