Drilling rig aground, Alaska
A large drill ship belonging to oil major Shell ran aground off Alaska on Monday night after drifting in stormy weather, reports gCaptain.com with reference to company and government officials. The ship, the KULLUK, broke away from one of its tow lines on Monday afternoon and grounded on rocks just off Kodiak Island within hours (Incident photo and full story on gCaptain.com ).
On Tuesday, Jan 1st, responders found themselves in 40 mph winds and 20 foot seas.
A Unified Command, consisting of the Coast Guard, federal, state and local partners and industry representatives was established in response to the grounding. The response priority is the safety of all personnel related to this incident and the environment. As of writing, all crew were safe and first flyovers showed the hull to be intact and stable, with no signs of fuel or oil loss.
A special website has been established to provide direct information from the Unified Command on all updates.
The grounding of the Kulluk is a blow to Shell’s $4.5 billion offshore programme in Alaska. Shell’s plan to convert the area in to a major new oil frontier has alarmed environmentalists and many Alaska Natives but excited industry supporters. Opponents say the drilling program threatens a fragile region that is already being battered by rapid climate change.