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CONTRIBUTION · 1st January 2013
Anchorage Daily News w others
Shell drilling rig grounds off Kodiak Island after towlines fail for 5th time

UPDATE by Bill Chappell, NPR
Update at 11:43 a.m. ET. New data on rig's contents, and the tow.

While early reports put the total amount of combined fluids aboard the rig at around 160,000 gallons, the group overseeing the Kulluk grounding said this morning that the number is 151,000 gallons — 139,000 gallons of ultra low sulfur diesel, along with 12,000 gallons of lubricating oil and hydraulic fluid used in the rig's drilling equipment.

The agency also confirms that while the rig broke away from its tow lines last week, the tug that was towing the rig through dangerous seas Monday disconnected the line for the safety of the towing vessel's crew.

"The Coast Guard said the Kulluk grounded around 9 p.m. Monday on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island in Ocean Bay," reports Alaska's KTUU Channel 2. Sitkalidak is a small island that lies just south of Kodiak Island.

It will likely be several hours before the Coast Guard can estimate the extent of the damage — the agency will send aircraft to survey the area at first light Tuesday.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Kulluk rig is built especially for the Alaskan gulf, as Darci Sinclair of Shell tells Jeff

ORIGINAL POSTINGThanks to Anchorage Daily

The Shell drill rig Kulluk grounded off Kodiak Island at about 9 p.m., December 31, 2012, according to the Coast Guard.

Read more here:

From a Video published on Dec 29, 2012.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, with crews from Air Station Kodiak, deliver mechanical parts to the tug Aiviq and hoist the 18 crewmembers off the mobile drilling unit Kulluk 80 miles southwest of Kodiak, Alaska, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.

The Kulluk was under tow en route Everett, Wash., when the Aiviq experienced towing and engine issues Thursday. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

News Release from the Coast Guard;

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard crews continue to battle the elements to provide assistance to the crews of the Mobile Drilling Unit Kulluk and its four support vessels, Aiviq, Nanuq, Guardsman and Alert, Monday. Coast Guard crews in conjunction with Royal Dutch Shell are working together to ensure the safety of life at sea and prevent the Kulluk from running aground despite the weather.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returned to the Kulluk’s location Sunday evening, after repairing their fouled port propeller in Kodiak, and relieved the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR as on scene commander. The crews of the response vessels Alert and Aiviq re-established the tow of the Kulluk Monday morning and plan on towing the Kulluk to Port Hobron on the southeast side of Kodiak Island to seek shelter from the harsh storm that has been impacting the tow for the past several days.

A Unified Command consisting of the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and other federal, state, local and tribal partners was established on Friday and is working with Royal Dutch Shell and Edison Chouest Offshore to respond to this incident.

The Unified Command is in direct contact with the crews of the response vessels and is receiving routine reports about conditions on scene. This information, along with updated weather reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is being used to develop future course of action and plan for various contingencies that may occur.

“The communication between the different stakeholders involved in this response has been exceptional,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander, Coast Guard 17th District. “The ability to quickly adapt and safely coordinate efforts to maintain control of the Kulluk despite the harsh weather remain the key factors in a successful outcome.”

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Air Station Kodiak are preparing to deploy several technicians aboard the Kulluk. The technicians will inspect the current condition of the towlines on the drilling unit.

“We have a brief weather window which provides the opportunity to get experts aboard the Kulluk to inspect the drilling unit and its tow set up,” said Ostebo. “They will provide key onsite information about towing issues or concerns and allow the Unified Command to develop contingency plans accordingly.”

Weather on scene is reported at 32-mph winds and 4-foot seas but is forecast to increase to 63-mph winds and 28-foot seas by Monday evening.

News reports
Comment by Stephen on 1st January 2013
I saw a small piece on this on Channel 56 first thing in the morning and then nothing for the rest of the day. The rig is on American soil so i turned to CNN expecting to see reporting there as well and again nothing.
Have they filtered the news on this story like they do so many others involving the enviroment?