The Coast Guard has established a temporary safety zone around the drillship Noble Discoverer in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea effective from Aug. 10 through Oct. 31.
The purpose of the 500-meter zone is to protect the drillship from vessels operating outside of the normal shipping channels and fairways.
The safety zone will be in effect when Noble Discoverer is anchored and when deploying, as well as recovering moorings, while on location in order to drill exploratory wells at various prospects located in the Chukchi Sea.
Earlier this year, that Coast Guard established temporary safety zones associated with Arctic drilling and support vessels in Puget Sound through June 30.
Those zones were needed to allow maximum use of the waterway by all users consistent with safe navigation, and to ensure that special interest groups and other mariners were not injured by deep-draft and support vessels with maneuvering characteristics with which they might be unfamiliar.
Whether intentional or unintentional, interference with deep-draft and other vessels, particularly those with limited ability to maneuver, has the potential to result in collision, grounding, serious injury, death or pollution. The safety zones provide ample space for any vessel to operate near during their transit without disrupting their safe navigation.