Shell Takes Delivery of the New Ice-Classed M/V Aiviq, ECO’s Largest and Most Advanced Vessel to Date

The MV Aiviq in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Photo: Shell

Shell Exploration and Production says it has taken delivery of the M/V Aiviq (pronounced ‘eye-vik’), a 360-foot ice class anchor handler built by Edison Chouest Offshore in Larose, Louisiana.

Built to support Shell’s 2012 shallow-water drilling program off the coast of Alaska in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, the M/V Aiviq is said to be one of the most technically advanced polar-class vessels in the world and the first of its kind to be built in the United States.

“This vessel is truly a monument to manpower and a symbol of how Shell is approaching the Arctic,” said Shell Alaska VP, Pete Slaiby. “The Aiviq is another example of our commitment to setting the bar in the Alaska offshore and employing thousands of workers along the way.”

Shell commissioned Edison Chouest Offshore to build the Aiviq in 2009 and and took delivery of the vessel at ECO’s shipyard in Port Fourchon, Louisiana this past Saturday, March 24.

The Aiviq was officially christened by Elizabeth Itta, a 12 year-old Nuiqsut, AK student who had won a naming contest hosted by Shell and ECO within the North Slope Borough School District asking students to submit their name of choice for the new vessel in the form of an essay.  In her paper, Elizabeth described how “a walrus can use its big, long, sharp, and powerful tusks to break through the ice.  The walrus is important to the Inupiaq culture because we love to eat the meat and muktuq.”  Aiviq means “walrus” in the Inupiat language, which is spoken by the people of Alaska’s Northwest Arctic and North Slope.  In addition to traveling with her family to Louisiana to christen the ship, Itta’s school was awarded a $5,000 grant.

With a price tag of $200 million, over 2 million man-hours were spent building the Aiviq, which will soon join Shell’s drilling fleet in the Pacific Northwest before heading north to Alaska where Shell has tentative approval to drill four exploratory wells starting this July.

The vessel was built to American Bureau of Shipping A3 class—capable of breaking ice 1 meter thick at a speed of 5 knots.

M/V Aiviq Technical Specifications:

  • Built: 2012 by Edison Chouest Offshore
  • Dimensions: 360 X 80 X 34
  • Draft: 28”1
  • Speed: 15 knots in open water, 5 knots in ice
  • Accommodations: 64
  • Main Engines: Four (4) CAT C280-12 diesels (5, 444 BHP each)
  • Fuel Oil Capacity: 528,155 gals.