17 August 2011
Statement by the Secretary of State’s representative, Hugh Shaw
Speaking in Aberdeen today, Mr Hugh Shaw said:
“As the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention I was notified on Friday evening of the Shell Gannet Alpha oil spill incident.
“My role since then is to monitor and approve Shell’s response to the spill to ensure that it is dealt with as quickly and as safely as possible, and with minimum impact on the environment. I have been updating Ministers and other organisations routinely on progress.
“This is an independent role for which I have established an Operations Control Unit (OCU) consisting of a full team of experts to advise me, including independent technical specialists. The team, which includes the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Marine Scotland, has been co-located at Shell’s office in Aberdeen and we are working very closely with the company.
“Based on the latest intelligence that I have, my view is that the oil leak is under control and has now been greatly reduced as validated by remotely operated vehicle footage and Government aerial surveillance flights. The priority now and over the coming days is to completely halt any further leakage in what is a complex environment.
“Although the spill was deemed as significant, our information is still that the oil is not expected to reach the shore, and that it will be dispersed naturally.
“It will be for DECC and the HSE inspectors to thoroughly investigate the causes of this incident, and once the full report is completed, it will be sent the Scottish Procurator Fiscal who will consider it and make a decision on further action.”