Battling the storm a tug and a support vessel succeed in getting lines aboard the abandoned Shell drill rig 'Kulluk'.
The vessels are 19 miles southeast of Kodiak Island, according to a joint statement issued by Shell, the Coast Guard and others making up the 'Unified Command'
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returned to the Kulluk’s location Sunday evening, after repairing their fouled port propeller in Kodiak, and relieved the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Spar as on scene commander.
The crews of the response vessels Alert and Aiviq re-established the tow of the Kulluk Monday morning and plan on towing the mobile drill rig to Port Hobron on the southeast side of Kodiak Island to seek shelter from the harsh storm that has been impacting the tow for the past several days.
Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Air Station Kodiak are preparing to deploy several technicians aboard the Kulluk to inspect the current condition of the towlines on the drilling unit.
“We have a brief weather window which provides the opportunity to get experts aboard the Kulluk to inspect the drilling unit and its tow set up,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander, Coast Guard 17th District. “They will provide key onsite information about towing issues or concerns and allow the Unified Command to develop contingency plans accordingly.”
Weather on scene is reported at 32-mph winds and 4-foot seas but is forecast to increase to 63-mph winds and 28-foot seas later.