NEWS RELEASE · 7th January 2013
US Coast Guard Unified Command
Salvage teams successfully attached the main tow line to the Kulluk drilling unit on January 6 at 4 p.m. Alaska Time and Unified Command confirmed all elements were in place for towing operations to proceed.
Tension was maintained on the line overnight and recovery began Jan. 7 at approximately 10:10 p.m. when the Kulluk drilling vessel was refloated from its Sitkalidak Island position.
The Kulluk is currently being moved from where it was grounded in Ocean Bay to Kiliuda Bay, about 30 miles north.
• As of 9 a.m. Alaska Time, the Kulluk remains in tow by the Aiviq traveling at approximately 3.5 knots (4 mph) in a northerly direction.
• The location of the Kulluk is approximately 4 nautical miles away from the planned anchored location in Kiliuda Bay.
• The Nanuq crew continues to utilize infrared equipment on board and reports that there are still no signs of a discharge.
The tow includes several vessels, including the Aiviq, an anchor-handling vessel with ship towing capabilities. A U.S. Coast Guard marine inspector is aboard the Aiviq. The Salvage Master is aboard the Kulluk and will remain during transit to Kiliuda Bay.
The tug Alert will also be connected to the Kulluk and assist in the tow. A 10-member salvage crew and one Shell representative are on board the Kulluk and will remain on the drilling unit throughout the tow.
Three Seattle-based ocean-going tugs, all with towing capabilities, are supporting the transit – Ocean Wave, Corbin Foss and Lauren Foss.
The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley is escorting the tow to Kiliuda Bay. A 500-yard radius safety zone around the Kulluk will follow the tow and remain in place once it is anchored in Kiliuda Bay.
As part of the recovery operations, onshore, nearshore and offshore oil spill assets, including response vessels, will be on-scene in Ocean Bay and during transit.