The Aiviq, Shell’s new anchor handling vessel, lost power in its engines today about 50 miles south of Kodiak while towing the Kulluk floating drilling platform, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Aiviq’s crew was subsequently able to restart one of the engines but is waiting for assistance from two other Shell vessels, the Guardsman and the Nanuq, the Coast Guard said. Meantime, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley is on scene and monitoring the situation. Apparently there are 40-mph winds and 20-foot seas in the area of the incident.
“Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of the personnel aboard the Aiviq and Kulluk,” said Capt. Paul Mehler III, commander, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We are working closely with industry representatives to provide assistance and to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith has confirmed by email that the Guardsman, a support vessel on contract to Shell, has left Seward and should be on scene to provide assistance shortly after 1 p.m. Alaska time. The Nanuq, Shell’s oil spill response vessel, is also en route to the scene, he said.
Per Smith the Aiviq has power generators that allow the vessel to avoid significant drift while having the Kulluk under tow.
“Our priority remains the safety of our personnel and the environment,” he said. “All of our efforts are dedicated to making sure the crews on these vessels are safe.”
The Kulluk is under tow from Dutch Harbor to the West Coast for maintenance work, Smith said.
Editor’s note: See story in Jan. 6 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 4, at www.PetroleumNews.com