Lauren Rosenthal, APRN Contributor
The Aleutian Chain already gets a serious amount of vessel traffic, and the shipping route is set to get a lot busier as the Arctic warms up and as Canada prepares to increase oil exports to Asia.
The Coast Guard medevaced a crew member from Shell’s Noble Discoverer drill ship in the Norton Sound Wednesday morning. The Noble Discoverer was about 70 miles off the coast of Nome when they called the Coast Guard for help around 4 a.m.
After weeks of delays and public mishaps, Shell is making some progress on its Arctic drilling expedition — and they’re asking the federal government to meet them halfway.
A 39-year-old man died last Thursday of natural causes on a Coast Guard medevac bound for Unalaska. Riche J. Tonato, from the Philippines, was the head cook on the cargo ship Matsura. That vessel had recently left Canada, and was on its way to Nagasaki, Japan.
When NIOSH started investigating injuries to Alaskan seiners a few years ago, they found a common theme. Researchers were able to trace countless instances of crushing, amputation, and drowning back to getting tangled up in the net.
As promised, one of Shell Oil’s drill rigs left Unalaska Monday and is now bound for the Arctic. The Kulluk drill ship departed early Monday afternoon, along with two of Shell’s tugboats, the Guardsman and the Warrior. Alaska marine pilot Richard Entenmann navigated the Kulluk, and he says the crew seemed happy to be heading north.
For years, King Cove residents have clashed with environmental activists over their plan to build a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Locals say it could save lives by making medevacs easier, but activists argue that it would ruin ecosystems.
The community development quota groups, or CDQ groups, were created in 1992 to bring impoverished Western Alaska communities into the lucrative Bering Sea fisheries. Today, the six nonprofit corporations split roughly ten percent of various fish quotas and collectively own more than $700 million in assets.
When Shell secured a court order to keep Greenpeace from protesting near its Arctic drilling expedition, the environmental group decided to strike back — by pretending to be Shell.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Shell’s drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, ran aground in Unalaska on Saturday. Bystanders and photographs place the rig less than a hundred feet from shore. But Shell says a preliminary inspection of the hull found no damage.
After two days of unsuccessful efforts to stop an ammonia leak from the factory-processor Excellence, the ship was safely towed to Wide Bay Saturday night. The Excellence’s captain first reported the leak to local authorities on Friday afternoon. All 129 crewmembers were evacuated from the vessel, along with the crew of a neighboring boat.