Opponents of the project pointed to the Fennica‘s rupture as a reminder of Shell’s poor safety record in offshore drilling. The company is resuming operations that were delayed three years ago after a separate vessel, the Kulluk, ran aground on an island near Kodiak, Alaska.
Environmental activists say a spill in the remote and pristine Arctic waters could prove more disastrous than the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf.
Pat Pourchot, the U.S. Interior Department’s former Special Assistant for Alaska Affairs, confirmed as much on Tuesday, telling the Guardian that if a spill did occur, “It’s really tough to talk about effective clean up. I don’t think anybody should have illusions. Clean up will be extremely modest.”
Added Greenpeace senior climate adviser Charlie Kronick, “Shell’s catastrophic record since 2012, as well as their mishap-plagued progress to Alaska this year, show just how unprepared they are for the harsh conditions of the Arctic. The company is patently unwilling to call time on this wasteful and potentially catastrophic project. It’s now up to the regulators and investors to do so.”
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