Further to the update issued by Shell on 22 August, this is a statement by Mr Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, who was appointed by the UK Government to oversee the operation.
“The risk of further oil release has considerably reduced following a successful operation to return raised sections of the pipeline to the seabed with concrete mattresses. The latest survey shows a few sections are lying just above the sea floor but operations continue to add additional mats to reduce the risk further.
“A slight sheen was reported in the area yesterday morning and I believe it is inevitable that further sheens will be seen as we move to the dredging and inspection phase of the operation and oil is released from sediment on the sea floor.
“Dredging and inspection operations to try and ascertain the precise source of the original leak commenced earlier today. Weather permitting, these operations may take three to four days to complete.
“On completion the data will be analysed to assist the engineers consider their future options for the safe removal of the remaining hydrocarbons from the pipeline.”
Notes for editors
Hugh Shaw is the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP). The role of the SOSREP is to represent the Secretaries of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (in relation to offshore installations) and Department for Transport (in relation to ships) by removing or reducing the risk to safety, property and the UK environment arising from accidents involving ships, fixed or floating platforms or sub-sea infrastructure.
The SOSREP monitors the operator’s response to a pollution incident and if he deems necessary, has powers to give directions and to take such other actions as may be required to prevent or minimise pollution or the threat of pollution. The SOSREP is empowered to make crucial and often time-critical decisions, without delay and without recourse to higher authority, where such decisions are in the overriding public interest.