Report: Shell drilling rig Discoverer under criminal investigation

As the Kulluk drilling rig remains grounded near Kodiak Island, CBS News reports that the activities of another drilling rig contracted by Shell in Alaska is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Citing unnamed sources, CBS News reports that the investigation follows a November marine safety inspection that uncovered problems with the ship's management system and pollution control systems while the rig was moored in Seward.

CBS reports:

The inspectors also listed more than a dozen "discrepancies" which, sources tell CBS News, led them to call in the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) to determine if there were violations of federal law.

Sources told CBS News that when criminal investigators arrived, the Noble Discoverer's crew had been provided with lawyers and declined to comment.

CBS says federal prosecutors have been meeting in Anchorage with Coast Guard Investigations Service agents and EPA investigators.

Owned by Noble Corp., the Discoverer has experienced a series of problems following a brief exploratory drilling season. It dragged anchor in Dutch Harbor, suffered a small fire in its smokestack and was cited by the Coast Guard for the safety and pollution control issues.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 


Anchorage Daily News