Preparing for the Arctic

Senator Mark Begich today held an Oceans Subcommittee Field Hearing on Arctic shipping and development issues.

He said the grounding of a Royal Dutch Shell drilling barge was a shipping accident, not a drilling accident.

The senator said the incident underscores the need to address challenges posed by additional maritime traffic in the Bering Sea and arctic Ocean.

According to Begich, the state faces greater risks from increasing ship traffic than offshore drilling in the Arctic marine environment.

At the hearing in Anchorage, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo  said there were 15 other search and rescue operations on December 31 when the Shell vessel ran aground near Kodiak.