19 August 2011
Mr Hugh Shaw, who is appointed by the UK Government to oversee the operation, said:
“At 08.45 this morning Shell informed me that all the necessary mitigation measures were in place to allow them to attempt to close the relief valves which were allowing oil to escape into the sea. This is an operation where safety is of paramount importance.
“Shell informed me at 10.58 this morning that both valves have been closed by divers, though I must be clear that this is not the end of this particular phase of the operation as there will now be a period of extensive monitoring to determine whether the operation has been successful and whether the leak has been stemmed. This will be done through subsea surveillance as well as by aerial surveillance by Government aircraft.
“Depending on the outcome of this part of the operation, the next phase will be to stabilise the damaged pipeline and safely remove the remaining hydrocarbons. I have asked Shell to provide me with their outline proposals for tackling this in a timely manner.
“Along with my team of experts, I am continuing to work closely with Shell to monitor and approve the company’s response and ensure that UK Government Ministers are kept fully abreast of the situation. I am also regularly meeting with the Scottish Government to inform them of the progress of the operation.
“DECC and HSE will be conducting a thorough investigation and a full report will, if appropriate, be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Hugh Shaw is the UK Government Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) and his role 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.