Polar bear pays visit to Hibernia oil platform

It's very rare that visitors can be found at the Hibernia oil platform, but a four-legged guest was all the talk Monday.
This polar bear was photographed from the Atlantic Merlin offshore supply vessel early Monday morning. It later attempted to climb onto the Hibernia gravity base structure. (Submitted photo)

It's very rare that visitors can be found at the Hibernia oil platform, but a four-legged guest was all the talk Monday.

Crew aboard the offshore supply vessel Atlantic Merlin got quite the surprise early Monday when they spotted a polar bear in the water not far from Hibernia.

The massive oil platform is located in the Atlantic Ocean some 315 kilometres east-southeast of St. John's.

Sources say the bear was swimming far from any sea ice. It attempted to climb aboard the 600,000-tonne gravity base structure.

Margot Bruce-O'Connell, spokesperson for Hibernia's majority owner ExxonMobil Canada, said one and possibly two bears were spotted in the area near Hibernia and the West Aquarius drill rig over the past few days.

Federal and provincial authorities have been notified, Bruce-O'Connell said. 

Recent studies have shown that polar bears can swim distances of several hundred kilometres.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.