At left in that image from a few minutes ago is the heavy-lift ship Blue Marlin, anchored in Port Angeles, notably no longer carrying the eventually-West-Seattle-bound drill rig Polar Pioneer, which it carried across the Pacific for Shell. Nine days after arriving in PA, the two were separated early this morning. We had been watching the slow-going operation for hours via a Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam – here’s the view from just before dusk Saturday:
(We requested and were granted the PA Chamber’s permission to publish those images.) Right now, the drilling platform is no longer in view, as it is being towed to a closer-in Port Angeles anchorage, according to the Peninsula Daily News, which reports it will undergo about a week more of work, before it’s to be towed to Seattle. Also in Port Angeles is the first Shell vessel that had arrived at T-5, the icecutter Aiviq, which has been in PA since Friday and is currently shown on MarineTraffic.com as one of several vessels surrounding the Polar Pioneer as it moves through the PA’s harbor (others include at least four tugs owned by Foss, which will host the PP as part of its T-5 lease).
Shell’s second T-5-bound drill vessel, the Noble Discoverer, is still crossing the Pacific – it spent some time off Honolulu last Thursday, according to its track on MarineTraffic.com. Shell told the PDN that the drillship – which was last here in 2012 – will be proceeding directly to Seattle rather than stopping in PA as did the Polar Pioneer.