The Coast Guard continues to investigate what caused a 3-foot crack in the hull of the Finnish icebreaking platform service vessel Fennica, and will issue a final report on the incident after preliminary information is analyzed.

Initial findings from Coast Guard marine casualty investigators in Anchorage, Alaska, revealed:

  • The navigational charts found on board the Fennica were all up to date
  • The Fennica’s draft at the time of the incident was 26.25 feet
  • The Coast Guard issued a broadcast notice to mariners after a NOAA hydrographic survey revealed a (22.5ft + 3ft tide) uncharted shoal along Fennica’s track east of Hog Island
  • The vessel's Master, Mate, and Pilot onboard during the time of the casualty underwent DOT drug test. All results were negative.

The Fennica -- carrying the capping stack, an important piece of emergency well containment equipment -- ran into an unknown obstruction while en route from Dutch Harbor to the Chukchi Sea in early July. Whatever the vessel hit tore a 39" gash in the hull, forcing it to return to the harbor. Rather than make temporary repairs in Alaska, the boat is running all the way south to Portland, Ore., where it will be repaired in a Vigor drydock. Reportedly, special steel is needed for permanent repairs to its icebreaking hull.

Meanwhile, Shell has received limited approval from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to conduct limited exploratory drilling activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Shell is permitted to drill only the top sections of wells and is prohibited from drilling into oil-bearing zones until a capping stack is on hand and deployable within 24 hours.

The Coast Guard's final report on the Fennica incident is not expected for several months.