The Coast Guard identified the deficiencies and ordered the repairs last month, after the Discoverer encountered propulsion problems while pulling into Seward, Alaska. The problems were flagged about two months after the Discoverer finished drilling the first half of an exploratory well for Shell Oil Co., in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.
According to Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow, when investigators boarded the drillship, they found “several issues with safety and pollution-prevention equipment” that prompted them to order the vessel to stay in the port until those deficiencies were corrected. The detention order was lifted Dec. 19 _ even though some propulsion problems still remain _ so the Discoverer could travel to a dock in Seattle for additional work. “Our biggest concern is protecting the safety of lives at sea and ensuring that all vessels that are out there are complying with vessel regulations,” Wadlow said. “When our investigators did go on board, they did discover several discrepancies, and that’s why we took this action.” The Coast Guard’s investigation is still under way. Noble Corp. said in a statement that its internal review also identified “certain other potential regulatory non-compliance issues, . . . including possible unauthorized collected water discharges outside the period of drilling operations.” Shell said that six of the problems identified by the Coast Guard have already been fixed and 10 others will be tackled in the Seattle shipyard, where the Discoverer was already slated to undergo work this winter.
Does anyone in/around Seward have any more insight on the propulsion problems? And is the Noble Discoverer still in Seward?
I don't have good AIS data, and the ND isn't showing up for me anywhere, but I've heard varying accounts of whether it's still in Seward or en route back to the Vigor Shipyard in Seatt.e