Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Christopher Krenz: 907-586-4050

Jon Warrenchuk: 907-586-6744

Press Release

Ice Breaker Fennica incident demonstrates Shell has not learned lessons of 2012


Automatic Identification System (AIS) data shows the MSV Fennica with a draft of 27 feet repeatedly crossed a rocky shoal previously marked as having a depth of less than 32 feet shortly before the ship was found to be damaged and a 3 foot gouge discovered. This was especially risky behavior given the deep draft of the Fennica, knowledge that the shorelines of Alaska are not well charted, ocean swells that can decrease clearance, and a nearby alternative deep water route to the west of Hog Island. Risky behavior and lack of adequate oversight of contractors were sighted by the government for being important contributors to Shell’s near disastrous 2012 Arctic drilling season. Oceana and SkyTruth are tracking vessel movements of interest. A map of the ships positions and route overlaid on a nautical chart is attached.

In response to this information Dr. Chris Krenz, Arctic Campaign Manager and Senior Scientist, issued the following statement:

“It is shocking that Shell appears to still be taking shortcuts instead of instituting a culture of safety and precaution. The Fennica could have easily travelled along a much safer route instead of going over a shallow, rocky shoal in an area that to begin with is not well charted. Shell’s 2015 drilling operations are reminiscent of their failures to operate safely in 2012.

Given the Fennica incident the Department of Interior should ensure a full investigation of this accident is completed and lessons learned and implemented before issuing Shell any further permits. If Shell’s management of their program is unable to avoid accidents such as these, they are certainly not ready to conduct activities that put the health of Arctic marine ecosystems at considerable risk.”


Oceana is the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization. Oceana works to protect and restore the world's oceans through targeted policy campaigns.

Trump Says Mar-a-Lago 'Under Siege, Raided, and Occupied' by FBI

"The accountability our democracy desperately needs for its survival might, just might, be a real possibility," said the head of a watchdog group.

Common Dreams staff ·

New Ad Against Herschel Walker Features Ex-Wife's Domestic Violence Accusations

A leader at the anti-Trump group behind the advertisement targeting the U.S. Senate candidate said that "our campaign is built around the voices of Georgia Republicans who know that he's unfit for office."

Jessica Corbett ·

Michigan AG Urges Probe of Alleged GOP-Led Effort to Break Into Voting Machines

"We must denounce the Big Lie and those who refuse to uphold the will of the people in our elections," said one democracy defender.

Brett Wilkins ·

Hopes Rise for Return to Iran Nuclear Deal Destroyed by Trump

"We stand five minutes or five seconds from the finish line," said one negotiator, who added that "three or four issues" that are "sensitive for Iranians and Americans" remain to be resolved.

Brett Wilkins ·

Sinema Received Over $500K From Private Equity Before Shielding Industry From Tax Hikes

"Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?" asked one critic. "Today it's just lobbying as usual."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo