The 'Kulluk', towed by the 'AHTS Aiviq' has arrived in the safe harbor for assessment of any damage caused by its recent grounding.
The Kulluk was refloated from its Ocean Bay position, off Sitkalidak Island, late Jan. 6, and will remain connected to its support vessels while it undergoes assessment in Kiliuda Bay, located about 30 miles north of Ocean Bay. The final location for assessment within the Bay will be determined by environmental conditions, including weather.
The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley escorted the tow to Kiliuda Bay along with two oil spill response vessels and other support vessels. A 500-yard radius safety zone around the Kulluk followed the escort and remains in place in Kiliuda Bay.
Monitoring by the oil spill response vessels escorting the tow confirmed that there were no signs of a discharge of oil during the transit.
The Kulluk grounded on New Year's Eve, after it broke tow during severe weather conditions.
Commenting on the incident, Marvin Odum, President, Shell Oil Company, said: “We undertake significant planning and preparation in an effort to ensure these types of incidents do not occur. We’re very sorry it did. Since the grounding, Shell has worked with all parties in the Unified Command structure to ensure a safe outcome and to protect the maritime environment in the vicinity of the grounded vessel. Thanks to the professionalism, dedication, and skill of all those involved in the recovery effort, I’m pleased to say those objectives have been met with no significant injuries and no environmental impact.
“At this stage, it’s too early to gauge any impact on our ongoing exploration plans, but with the Kulluk now safely recovered, we’ll carry out a detailed assessment of the vessel to understand what those impacts might be. In the meantime, we will participate in the US Coast Guard’s investigation into the causes of this incident and will implement lessons learned.”
The 'Unified Command' continues to coordinate with the Old Harbor Native Corporation to assist with any necessary cleanup activities. Additional spill response land resources have been staged in Old Harbor.