Shell drilling rig moorings in Wide Bay, Summer Bay & Nateekin Bay near Dutch Harbor

for anyone - except c.captain as he doesn’t believe they will ever be up there this year - who wants to see Shell’s drilling rigs off Alaska this summer, here’s the exact (proposed) mooring locations:

May it be a better location for the Disco than in 2012!

I like the Wide Bay location. They already have moorings over there.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;154208]I like the Wide Bay location. They already have moorings over there.[/QUOTE]

one of the locals and marine pilot seems to sort of agree with you (and tends to favor Broad Bay/Wide Bay).

[B]Port Officials Call For “Tweaks” to Shell Moorage Plan[/B]

KUCB - Lauren Rosenthal
Tuesday, February 17 2015

As Shell tries to chart a course back to the Arctic this summer, the company is looking for new space to store its drill rigs in Unalaska.

Shell has asked the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to sign off on three moorage sites for the Noble Discoverer and the Polar Pioneer – all on on state-owned tidelands. If they’re approved, the rigs could cycle through Wide Bay, Nateekin Bay, and the edge of Summer Bay until 2019.

Shell declined to comment through a spokesperson. But port personnel in Unalaska say some of those spots are less than ideal.

Summer Bay sees heavy traffic from cargo ships. And marine pilot Rick Entenmann says the 500-meter safety zone that Shell is requesting around its rigs may not leave much space for tugboats and barges to get past the entrance to Nateekin Bay.

“So we’d like to maybe move that position — maybe tweak that a little bit more towards the Broad Bay area and Wide Bay,” Entenmann says. “Get him out of the way. Because it’s going to be a visual [thing] too. You know? ‘What the heck is that. How long is that going to be there?’”

It’s not clear how long the vessels would stay in Unalaska. Shell didn’t intend to keep either of its Arctic rigs in port back in 2012. But heavy sea ice and permitting delays kept the fleet tied up in Unalaska for more than a month.

During that time, the Noble Discoverer broke free from its moorage in Unalaska Bay, grabbing national headlines in the process.

Shell isn’t looking to use that spot again. But after the issues the company faced on its last Arctic expedition, Shell sent several employees to Unalaska to hammer out new anchorages.

Ports director Peggy McLaughlin says that meeting took place just over a year ago.

“You know, I think that Shell made the effort to come out and communicate and to work with local government and work with local industry to come up with the best possible solutions,” McLaughlin says. “Somehow – in the mix-up and the time lapse between then and now – some of those priorities have been lost in translation.”

There’s also been turnover in Shell’s ranks. McLaughlin says she’s asked for another meeting with the oil company later in the week to discuss their moorage proposal.

Alaska’s DNR will be taking public comments on the plan through February 24. They can be submitted in writing to the Division of Mining, Land and Water at 550 West 7th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501. Questions should be directed to natural resource specialist Candice Snow at or (907) 269-5032.

Glad to read there is more of a plan now than in 2012. Back then it was, “Captain, go anchor here for a couple of days before heading to drill site.”. Then a couple weeks later the Discoverer dragged and the finger pointing began. Interesting they plan to use the turret moorings on Discoverer this time vs what I hear is a hulking new bow anchor. Agree with y’all too on keeping both rigs away from the harbor and traffic lanes. No sense restricting commercial traffic if you don’t need to. Best luck to all those involved this go round.

Looks like they’ll listen to the experts this time!

[B]Shell Will Limit Rigs to One Moorage, Say Port Officials
By Annie Ropeik
Thursday, February 26 2015

Local officials say Shell Oil has agreed to keep their drill rigs tied up in just one location each in Unalaska, as the company looks to return to the Arctic this summer.

In their request to use state tidelands, Shell listed Wide Bay, Nateekin Bay and Summer Bay all as potential moorage sites for the Polar Pioneer. Now, they say the latter two will be back-ups, for use in emergencies only.

That’s according to Rick Entenmann, with the Alaska Marine Pilots. He says he met with Shell’s marine team in Anchorage last week, and posed concerns that cycling the rig through all three areas would obstruct vessel traffic.

“I’m just clearing the air there that they weren’t planning on putting the Polar Pioneer anywhere but Wide Bay,” he says. “That’s the big one, because she’s got eight anchors out, and she takes up quite a bit of space. So Wide Bay would be out of the way as far as major traffic is concerned.”

He says the vessel would only move to Nateekin or Summer Bay in case of disaster – like if a disabled vessel needed to tie up at the emergency mooring buoy in Wide Bay.

“The other two – I understand they need something on paper,” Entenmann says, “and hopefully that’s all we get, what’s on paper.”

He says Shell also told him their Noble Discoverer drill ship would stay in one place, too – in Broad Bay, just south of Wide Bay, except in emergencies. And he says both ships will take their anchors with them when they move. He expects the rigs will stay in Unalaska for at least a month this summer before heading north.

Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino confirmed that the company’s marine team met with Entenmann, but declined to discuss other details.

“We continue to engage with the pilots and the port as well on the back-up contingency mooring locations for Shell’s assets,” she says. “It’s a dialogue that we really appreciate and we value.”

Public comment on the moorage plan closed on Wednesday. Candice Snow, at the Department of Natural Resources, says they got a comment from the city of Unalaska about the meeting with Shell, and two more from residents with similar concerns about the mooring locations.

Snow says it’ll be at least a couple of weeks before the permits are finalized – even as some of Shell’s fleet makes its way to Unalaska. That leaves time for one last visit from Shell representatives. The city has asked them to come out in mid-March to go over the final details for the summer season.