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17th District Alaska Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

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News Release

July 15, 2012

U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Public Affairs Kodiak

Contact: Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker


Office: (907) 487-5700

Mobile: (907) 654-4112

Coast Guard investigating Noble Discoverer incident near Unalaska

KODIAK, Alaska — Coast Guard personnel in Unalaska continue to investigate reports that the Noble Discoverer dragged anchor Saturday and drifted toward shore near Unalaska Island. 

"There are no reports of injuries to the crew, pollution or damage to the Noble Discoverer," said Lt. James Fothergill, supervisor Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Unalaska and the lead investigating officer on the case. "We are investigating the report that the vessel dragged anchor and drifted toward shore before being towed back to its original mooring point. While the vessel master reported he did not believe the vessel grounded, this cannot be confirmed by the Coast Guard at this time. Divers are expected to inspect the vessel's hull Friday." 

The vessel is currently moored 500 to 750 yards from shore in Unalaska Bay with tugs standing by. A remotely operated vehicle aboard the Noble Discoverer was used to inspect the hull Saturday after the vessel was reanchored and the crew reported seeing no evidence of damage to the hull or grounding. The Coast Guard will review that footage as part of the investigation.

Divers have been contracted by Shell to inspect the exterior hull of the vessel. The Coast Guard will inspect the the interior of the vessel's hull. The Noble Discoverer crew is working to arrange mooring at the city pier in Unalaska in advance of the divers' arrival which anticipated now to be Friday. 

The Coast Guard received a report at 5:18 p.m. Saturday that the Noble Discoverer dragged anchor 175-yards from the shore of Unalaska Island and was drifting toward land. The crew immediately let out more anchor chain to slow the drift and called for a tug assist. The tugs were able to tow the vessel back to a safe anchorage. The crew aboard the Noble Discoverer stated that while they came extremely close to land they did not feel any impact or vibration to indicate a grounding. 

The vessel's mooring location is in deep water and is a common anchorage for large commercial vessels. Weather at the time of the incident was reported as sustained winds of 27 mph with gusts to 35 mph.

For questions regarding the case contact Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis at 907-654-4112. For regulatory questions please contact Cmdr. Chris O'Neil, head of Coast Guard media relations, at 202-285-5127. For questions regarding Shell's plans and operations please contact Curtis Smith with Shell Alaska at 907-646-7182. 

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