Harland’s opinion is at odds with my remembrance of the vessel’s reputation in the early 1980s, based on my having worked with several crewmen who had worked on tugs pushing the Arctic Challengerthrough the ice in the late 1970s. However, the AC has been modified so that it can no longer be pushed through the ice. It will be towed by an ice breaking tug.
Since I wrote here about the rapidly declining probability of Shell being able to even have a 2012 drilling season in the Beaufort or Chukchi Seas, nobody has taken a chance on predicting there will be one this year. It looks to me like Shell will have a good ten more months to work the wrinkles out of their systems, and – hopefully – spill no more oil from their oil spill prevention and cleanup barge.