Today, the U.S. Coast Guard released its “Report of Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding the Multiple Related Marine Casualties and the Grounding of the MODU KULLUK On December 31, 2012.” The report details mismanagement and poor risk assessment on the part of Shell and its contractors. It also describes violations of the law and regulations and recommends changes to improve safety and planning. The Department of the Interior issued a less extensive review of the incident in March 2013 that reached similar conclusions, and Environmental Protection Agency findings that Shell violated air emission requirements led to the company paying more than $1 million in fines.
In response to the release of the report, Susan Murray, Deputy Vice President, Pacific of Oceana issued the following statement:
“Today’s report confirms something we’ve known all along—Shell did not appreciate or appropriately plan for the conditions or risks in Alaska. Normal Arctic conditions, including rough seas, ice, and bad weather require special care and attention. Shell has provided neither and, instead, has demonstrated a consistent disregard for the unique challenges of operating in the Arctic Ocean. The cavalier attitude demonstrated by Shell is very reminiscent of the mistakes that led to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Shell has prioritized profit and convenience ahead of precaution and safety. Today’s report sheds necessary light on Shell’s problems, and we hope it will help force the necessary decisions that ensure protection of the healthy oceans on which we all depend.
We cannot rely on Shell’s assurances that, next time, it will do better. Companies should be allowed into the Arctic Ocean if and only if they have proven that operations can be undertaken safely and without harming the health of the ecosystem. Good stewardship requires good decisions and the willingness to say ‘no’ to unwise proposals.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.