Shell Drilling Rig Kulluk Refloated

The Shell drilling rig, Kulluck, which broke its towline and was blown aground off Alaska’s Sitkalidak Island on New Year’s Eve, is reported to have been refloated and made ready for a thirty mile tow to the sheltered waters of Kodiak Island’s Kiliuda Bay.  So far, there has been no indication that the hull has been breached or that any of the 150,000 gallons of fuel and petroleum products aboard have leaked from the rig. Once the condition and stability of the rig has been assessed, the tow will be attempted by the Aiviq, the same tug that lost control of the rig prior to the grounding.

Kulluk Towing Plan Animation

Shell oil drilling ship Kulluk refloated near Alaska

The Kulluk is a circular barge 266 feet in diameter with a funnel-shaped, reinforced steel hull that enables it to operate in ice. One of two Shell ships that drilled last year in the Arctic Ocean, it has a 160-foot derrick rising from its center and no propulsion system of its own.

Shell has reported superficial damage above the deck and seawater within that entered through open hatches. Water has knocked out regular and emergency generators, but portable generators were put on board late last week.

Thanks to Phil Leon for contributing to the post.

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