Shell ship ‘Fennica’ heads to Oregon for repairs

Shell's Fennica vessel. Photo: John Ryan/KUCB.
Shell’s Fennica vessel. Photo: John Ryan/KUCB.

A key ship in Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet left Alaska on Sunday.

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The icebreaker is headed south to Oregon for repairs after a three-foot gash was discovered in its hull.

The icebreaker, called the Fennica, hit an uncharted rock as it was leaving Dutch Harbor for the Chukchi Sea.

It had to return to port for temporary repairs. That was two weeks ago.

Now, the Fennica is making a week-long journey to Portland, Oregon, for a more permanent fix.

Shell wouldn’t say how long those repairs could take.

The company can only drill during the brief Arctic summer, and it cannot drill for oil without an oilwell-capping device that’s on board the Fennica.

Two Shell oil rigs are already on their way to the drill site in the Chukchi Sea.

U.S. officials have not said whether the missing icebreaker will influence their decision on two final permits that Shell needs to begin drilling.