Automatic Identification System (AIS) data shows the MSV Fennica with a draft of 27 feet repeatedly crossed a rocky shoal previously marked as having a depth of less than 32 feet shortly before the ship was found to be damaged and a 3 foot gouge discovered. This was especially risky behavior given the deep draft of the Fennica, knowledge that the shorelines of Alaska are not well charted, ocean swells that can decrease clearance, and a nearby alternative deep water route to the west of Hog Island. Risky behavior and lack of adequate oversight of contractors were cited by the government for being important contributors to Shell’s near disastrous 2012 Arctic drilling season. Oceana and SkyTruth are tracking vessel movements of interest. A map of the ship's positions and route overlaid on a nautical chart is attached.
In response to this information Dr. Chris Krenz, Arctic Campaign Manager and Senior Scientist, issued the following statement:
“It is shocking that Shell appears to still be taking shortcuts instead of instituting a culture of safety and precaution. The Fennica could have easily travelled along a much safer route instead of going over a shallow, rocky shoal in an area that to begin with is not well charted. Shell’s 2015 drilling operations are reminiscent of their failures to operate safely in 2012.
Given the Fennica incident the Department of Interior should ensure a full investigation of this accident is completed and lessons learned and implemented before issuing Shell any further permits. If Shell’s management of their program is unable to avoid accidents such as these, they are certainly not ready to conduct activities that put the health of Arctic marine ecosystems at considerable risk.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation. We run science-based campaigns and seek to win policy victories that can restore ocean biodiversity and ensure that the oceans are abundant and can feed hundreds of millions of people. Oceana victories have already helped to create policies that could increase fish populations in its countries by as much as 40 percent and that have protected more than 1 million square miles of ocean. We have campaign offices in the countries that control close to 40 percent of the world’s wild fish catch, including in North, South and Central America, Asia, and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.