Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard 17th District, today ordered a formal marine casualty investigation of the Kulluk grounding incident. On Dec. 31 the Kulluk, the floating drilling platform being used by Shell for exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea, went aground on the shore of Sitkalidak Island, on the southeast side of Kodiak Island, while under tow from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands to the Seattle area for maintenance and repairs. The vessel was refloated yesterday.
On Jan. 3 the Coast Guard said that it was deploying an investigation team for the Kulluk incident.
The Coast Guard today said that a Coast Guard investigating officer will lead the investigation, and that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the National Transportation Safety Board will participate as technical advisors. The investigation will likely take several months to complete and will position the Coast Guard to take remedial action to address the factors underlying the incident, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard conducts an investigation of this type when “a vessel casualty has considerable regional significance, may indicate vessel class problems, or is the best means to assess technical issues that may have contributed to the incident,” the Coast Guard said.
Yesterday afternoon the incident command for the Kulluk incident confirmed that the Kulluk had been anchored safely in Kiliuda Bay, on the south side of Kodiak Island, following the refloating operation.
See story in Jan. 13 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday Jan. 11, at www.PetroleumNews.com