The inquiry concerns the towing of the drilling rig Kulluk, owned by Royal Dutch Shell, which ran aground Dec. 31, 2012, when the 365-foot towing ship Aiviq experienced an engine failure, the (Anchorage, Alaska) Daily News reported Friday.
Carl Broekhuis, the ship's main engineer, said Thursday, the fourth day of an anticipated 10-day hearing, the ship's four engines failed because of a problem with the fuel that materialized in the form of "slime."
"It wasn't just slime. There was something else on it. It was something that was unexplained," Broekhuis said as he explained a photograph of a fuel filter covered in an oily substance, part of the Coast Guard's evidence.
His account provided the most direct explanation, thus far, that the fuel was the cause of the engine problems, the newspaper said.