The Kulluk, Shell’s floating drilling platform, is under tow and approaching its planned mooring site in Kiliuda Bay, on the southeast side of Kodiak Island, the unified command for the Kulluk towing incident announced at 10 a.m. this morning. Shell’s anchor handling vessel, the Aiviq, was towing the Kulluk after pulling the drilling platform off the shore of Sitkalidak Island at about 10:10 p.m. last night. The tug Alert has also been assisting with the tow.
The Kulluk ran aground on a cobble beach on Sitkalidak Island on the evening of Dec. 31.
Sean Churchfield, the incident commander from Shell, said that the operation of pulling the Kulluk off the beach had proved relatively straightforward. The Kulluk will now be anchored in Kiliuda Bay, with tugs in attendance, while the salvage team assesses the condition of the vessel, to help determine what to do next. It is not yet clear whether any repairs to the Kulluk will need to be carried out at Kiliuda Bay, before the Kulluk can be moved from the area.
The Nanuq, Shell’s oil spill response vessel, has been using infrared equipment to monitor for any leakage of diesel fuel or other hydrocarbon material from the Kulluk. Steve Russell, the state on-scene coordinator, said this morning that no hydrocarbons have been detected in the water around the drilling vessel.
See story in Jan. 13 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday Jan. 11, at www.PetroleumNews.com