The West Aquarius semi-submersible drill rig was back near shore last week to undergo repairs.

Vessel tracking websites put the rig near Bay Bulls, south of St. John’s. It is owned by Seadrill.

The West Aquarius had mechanical issues with its anchor winches, London-based Seadrill spokesman Iain Cracknell said in a short statement emailed to CBC News late Sunday evening.

"This has not affected the rig’s station-keeping capabilities,” Cracknell noted.

'The rig has been relocated to sheltered waters so that repairs can be carried out safely and efficiently.' - Iain Cracknell of Seadrill

“The rig has been relocated to sheltered waters so that repairs can be carried out safely and efficiently. We cannot confirm when these repairs will be completed, but as soon as they are the West Aquarius will return to the Hibernia field.”

The West Aquarius is under contract to ExxonMobil. It carries a price tag of US$540,000 a day.

Last fall, Seadrill announced it had reached a settlement for the time it took to gear up the West Aquarius to meet regulatory requirements for work in Newfoundland waters.

The deal saw Seadrill agree to forego payment for 37 days during that recent mobilization period. That works out to roughly US$20 million.

Seadrill announced at the time that it was working on an extension to keep the rig off Canada’s East Coast until 2017.

This is the second time in recent months the West Aquarius has returned near shore for unscheduled repairs.

In mid-December, Seadrill rig manager Tor-Inge Gran told the St. John’s Telegram the West Aquarius required unplanned repair work on its mooring chains.

According to weekly reports issued by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Board, the West Aquarius was back on the Hibernia field by early January.

The C-NLOPB steered inquiries about the current status of the West Aquarius to Seadrill.