Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has a hit a snag in its latest attempt to drill for oil in the Arctic waters off Alaska.
The Fennica, one of the ice-breakers it was planning to use, has been holed in the ballast tank and returned to port.
The company said systems on board the ship warned there was a leak, and the crew found a one-metre long tear in the hull. It did not say how the damage occurred, the Volkskrant reports.
The company does not expect the set-back to delay drilling, but cannot be sure until it receives a damage report.
Shell was granted a licence to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic in May, despite warnings by protestors it could lead to an environmental disaster.
The licence for up to six exploratory wells was granted by the US government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management which said it had taken a ‘thoughtful approach to potential exploration’.
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