The oil rig Kolskaya, which capsized and sunk during a storm near Sakhalin on 18 December, had been drilling on the Kamchatka continental shelf illegally, according to the Russian paper Gazeta.ru. The Kamchatka regional environmental prosecutor had lodged a lawsuit against Gazflot (company commissioning the drilling, subsidiary of the Russian gas major Gazprom) for commencing drilling despite the negative conclusions of the compulsory environmental impact assessment. The lawsuit has now been recalled as “all of the violations have been eliminated”, says the prosecutor.

Following the accident, only 14 of the 67 crew members have been found alive. In a move reminiscent of BP a year and a half ago, Gazprom denied having any responsibility for the drilling rig. The company’s explanation: the rig had finished its work for Gazprom and was on its way home.

Gazeta.ru: Relatives of the missing rig workers blame the management of Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (drilling contractor and another Gazprom subsidiary). According to his daughter, Mikhail Tersin, head of the towing operation was forced to take up the position, having previously refused as he understood it would be unsafe. The company claims the towing operation was carried out in accordance with all legal requirements.