Hull damage forces Shell Arctic support ship to return to dock at Alaska port; delays unknown

Associated Press

A support ship in Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic this summer has returned to port after a hole was found in its hull.

The icebreaker Fennica was leaving Dutch Harbor's channel early Friday when crew members discovered a hole nearly 40 inches long in its ballast tank.

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The ship is undergoing evaluations to see if it can be repaired there or will have to go to drydock.

What caused the hole wasn't immediately known.

A Shell spokesman says the company doesn't believe this will delay its plans to drill this summer, but that will depend on the extent of repairs.

The Fennica also carries the capping stack that Shell would use to cap a well in case of a blowout.