Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 12 of 16

Thread: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

  1. #1
    Kennebec Captain's Avatar
    Kennebec Captain is offline Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,781
    Thanks
    534
    Thanked 924 Times in 493 Posts

    Default Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    Interesting article about the escort tugs in PWS:"With Kulluk grounding we've been warned"

    Now, however, we have seen a real-world heavy-weather towing emergency unfold and the results were are not reassuring. The Kulluk incident involved a brand new tug with over twice the horsepower of the Prince William Sound tanker escort tugs, yet it lost its tow line no fewer than five times before the Kulluk grounded near Kodiak. This demonstrates just how difficult towing is in severe Alaskan weather. Bad storms happen all over Alaska, and severe weather just outside of Hinchinbrook Entrance — where loaded tankers leave the Sound — is common, more so than in the western Gulf of Alaska where the Shell rig ran into trouble. That’s why meteorologists nicknamed the northeast Gulf of Alaska “Coffin Corner”.
    It’s also why loaded oil tankers are not allowed to pass through Hinchinbrook if weather there exceeds 15-foot seas and 45-knot winds. But even that is no guarantee they will avoid extreme conditions. The well-known coastal weather phenomenon called barrier jets often creates high winds and big waves just outside Hinchinbrook, even when the weather inside is much milder.
    K.C.
    Share on Facebook

  2. #2
    tugsailor is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    2,546
    Thanks
    913
    Thanked 1,100 Times in 617 Posts

    Default Re: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    The KULLUK incident (and some of the other incidents that have happened in the Aleutians over the past few years) certainly do point out the need for having an adequate number (perhaps four to six) of the best technology available powerful rescue towing tugs stationed around the Gulf of Alaska. The stand by stations that come to mid are: Sitka, Icy Bay, PWS, Homer, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor.

    These incidents also point out the need for oil rigs, barges, and ships transiting these areas to have excellent emergency towing arrangements ready to go so that they can be promptly taken under tow. Also, the ship's emergency towing gear must be deployed before the ship is abandoned to facilitate an unmanned ship being picked up by a tug.

    A permanently manned USCG helicopter base has been needed at Dutch Harbor for as long as I can remember.

    This won't be cheap, but the cost of all this would not add one cent to the price of a gallon of gas at the pump.
    Share on Facebook

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to tugsailor For This Useful Post:

    seacomber (January 16th, 2013)

  4. #3
    rshrew's Avatar
    rshrew is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,131
    Thanks
    196
    Thanked 295 Times in 197 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tugsailor
    The KULLUK incident (and some of the other incidents that have happened in the Aleutians over the past few years) certainly do point out the need for having an adequate number (perhaps four to six) of the best technology available powerful rescue towing tugs stationed around the Gulf of Alaska. The stand by stations that come to mid are: Sitka, Icy Bay, PWS, Homer, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor.

    These incidents also point out the need for oil rigs, barges, and ships transiting these areas to have excellent emergency towing arrangements ready to go so that they can be promptly taken under tow. Also, the ship's emergency towing gear must be deployed before the ship is abandoned to facilitate an unmanned ship being picked up by a tug.

    A permanently manned USCG helicopter base has been needed at Dutch Harbor for as long as I can remember.

    This won't be cheap, but the cost of all this would not add one cent to the price of a gallon of gas at the pump.
    I think there is a adequate amount of tugs available for rescue in my opinion, you can have all the hp in the world but doesn't do any good if you cannot get control of the drifting barge/ship there are 2 tractors in Dutch year round 4500hp each. 2 in anchorage, 1 5000hp in nikiski, 1-4,000hp in Kodiak, 4 10,000hp tractors in Valdez year round. Plus various conventional tugs always around. The problem in my book is the emergency towing gear. The coast guard said it had some in various spots maybe it needs to be located always on the specified tugs at these ports ready to go. Just my opinion.
    Share on Facebook

  5. #4
    tugsailor is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    2,546
    Thanks
    913
    Thanked 1,100 Times in 617 Posts

    Default Re: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    Quote Originally Posted by rshrew View Post
    I think there is a adequate amount of tugs available for rescue in my opinion, you can have all the hp in the world but doesn't do any good if you cannot get control of the drifting barge/ship there are 2 tractors in Dutch year round 4500hp each. 2 in anchorage, 1 5000hp in nikiski, 1-4,000hp in Kodiak, 4 10,000hp tractors in Valdez year round. Plus various conventional tugs always around. The problem in my book is the emergency towing gear. The coast guard said it had some in various spots maybe it needs to be located always on the specified tugs at these ports ready to go. Just my opinion.

    Well, your certainly in a much better position to make such an assessment than I am. I agree that Cook Inlet and PWS are well covered with rescue tug capability.

    I still would like to see a tug at least the size of ALERT (and without any commitments that cannot be promptly set aside in an emergency) on station in Kodiak and somewhere in Southeast Alaska.

    I think that Dutch Harbor needs something much bigger than ALERT, perhaps more like TOR VIKING II. The tractor tugs in Dutch have ship assist commitments, and I do not believe they are up to the task of rescuing ships hundreds of miles away in bad weather the way TOR VIKING II did off Atka Island. (Wasn't that last winter?) I'm thinking of a large ice class salvage tug with the ability to respond to an emergency in Arctic, off Attu, in the Gulf of Alaska halfway to Puget Sound, or halfway to Hawaii.
    Share on Facebook

  6. #5
    rshrew's Avatar
    rshrew is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,131
    Thanks
    196
    Thanked 295 Times in 197 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tugsailor

    Well, your certainly in a much better position to make such an assessment than I am. I agree that Cook Inlet and PWS are well covered with rescue tug capability.

    I still would like to see a tug at least the size of ALERT (and without any commitments that cannot be promptly set aside in an emergency) on station in Kodiak and somewhere in Southeast Alaska.

    I think that Dutch Harbor needs something much bigger than ALERT, perhaps more like TOR VIKING II. The tractor tugs in Dutch have ship assist commitments, and I do not believe they are up to the task of rescuing ships hundreds of miles away in bad weather the way TOR VIKING II did off Atka Island. (Wasn't that last winter?) I'm thinking of a large ice class salvage tug with the ability to respond to an emergency in Arctic, off Attu, in the Gulf of Alaska halfway to Puget Sound, or halfway to Hawaii.
    I know there was talk of a rescue tug in Dutch after the Tor Viking rescue but never heard anything more about it. Time will tell now after the kulluk debacle.
    Share on Facebook

  7. #6
    c.captain's Avatar
    c.captain is online now Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    anyplace other than Bayoo LaFlush!
    Posts
    7,444
    Thanks
    953
    Thanked 2,688 Times in 1,641 Posts

    Default Re: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    Quote Originally Posted by rshrew View Post
    I know there was talk of a rescue tug in Dutch after the Tor Viking rescue but never heard anything more about it. Time will tell now after the kulluk debacle.
    but who on earth pays for a tug to just sit there? The days of the world having salvage tugs positioned in strategic locations around the planet is over with the reduction in ship casualties and the refusal of any shipowner to allow one of their masters sign a Lloyd's Open Form.

    Did the Neah Bay Foss standby tug ever save a ship is distress or does it just cost the State of Washington a whole buttload of money each year? Do they still even have it sitting out there?
    Share on Facebook

  8. #7
    rshrew's Avatar
    rshrew is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,131
    Thanks
    196
    Thanked 295 Times in 197 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by c.captain

    but who on earth pays for a tug to just sit there? The days of the world having salvage tugs positioned in strategic locations around the planet is over with the reduction in ship casualties and the refusal of any shipowner to allow one of their masters sign a Lloyd's Open Form.

    Did the Neah Bay Foss standby tug ever save a ship is distress or does it just cost the State of Washington a whole buttload of money each year? Do they still even have it sitting out there?
    That's the problem know body wants to pay for it nor is it really needed in my opinion. And yes Foss still sits in neah bay year round with the Jeffery Foss. They have not done a tremendous amount of "rescues" to date. Nothing that could not of been done by a tug out of Anacortes or Port Angeles. Talk about a boring job! But good money for not using the equipment and getting paid every day of the year!
    Share on Facebook

  9. #8
    tugsailor is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    2,546
    Thanks
    913
    Thanked 1,100 Times in 617 Posts

    Default Re: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    This is like asking who pays for the ambulance and fire trucks to stand by just in case something might happen. Or why pay all that money for these guys to do nothing most of the time. Given the kind of Money that government wastes everyday (look at TWIC or any MARAD program), the cost of a couple of rescue tugs is trivial.

    If paying for a couple of big rescue tugs to stand by in Alaska, just in case an unthinkable event might happen (like the KULLUK grounding), will help to prevent a moratorium on Article drilling, I am willing to help pay for it, every time I pull up to the gas pump.
    Share on Facebook

  10. #9
    rshrew's Avatar
    rshrew is offline Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,131
    Thanks
    196
    Thanked 295 Times in 197 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tugsailor
    This is like asking who pays for the ambulance and fire trucks to stand by just in case something might happen. Or why pay all that money for these guys to do nothing most of the time. Given the kind of Money that government wastes everyday (look at TWIC or any MARAD program), the cost of a couple of rescue tugs is trivial.

    If paying for a couple of big rescue tugs to stand by in Alaska, just in case an unthinkable event might happen (like the KULLUK grounding), will help to prevent a moratorium on Article drilling, I am willing to help pay for it, every time I pull up to the gas pump.
    Nothing's preventable that's the problem, especially in Alaska. Would it make a difference? Maybe, they have escort tugs so tankers never spilled oil again in Valdez has that happened since? No the escort tugs ran aground a spilled oil. Apples to Oranges in my opinion it's not needed. What is needed is common sense by people calling the shots in an office.
    Share on Facebook

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to rshrew For This Useful Post:

    jmad (January 17th, 2013)

  12. #10
    jmad is online now gCaptain Crew
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    99
    Thanks
    21
    Thanked 15 Times in 13 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rshrew

    I think there is a adequate amount of tugs available for rescue in my opinion, you can have all the hp in the world but doesn't do any good if you cannot get control of the drifting barge/ship there are 2 tractors in Dutch year round 4500hp each. 2 in anchorage, 1 5000hp in nikiski, 1-4,000hp in Kodiak, 4 10,000hp tractors in Valdez year round. Plus various conventional tugs always around. The problem in my book is the emergency towing gear. The coast guard said it had some in various spots maybe it needs to be located always on the specified tugs at these ports ready to go. Just my opinion.
    For sure. And dutch actually has a ETS system on standby. Both tractors train and use once ever y year. Rough big weather with that questionable....however pretty cool package if you ask me. Shot via line gun or dropped by heli. Could buy enough time to get control and maintain.
    Share on Facebook

  13. #11
    Kennebec Captain's Avatar
    Kennebec Captain is offline Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,781
    Thanks
    534
    Thanked 924 Times in 493 Posts

    Default Re: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    There was also this bit about studies that the tow winches on the current tugs require upgrading.


    Specifically, the study called for more modern winches that can automatically pay out and reel in tow lines under full load. The winches now on the Sound’s tugs represent 15-year-old technology and they lack this capability.

    The modern winches recommended by the Allan study permit tugs to apply full towing force and reduce or eliminate the huge tow line surges that come from vessels getting thrown around in big seas. These new winches are designed to help prevent tow line failure by reducing shock loading on the system.

    Most towing exercises in the Sound happen in relatively calm weather. The advantages of the new winches do not become apparent until the weather gets rough. With so many successful escorts and exercises behind them, industry and its regulators have grown comfortable with the old-style winches, and they declined to act on our towing equipment study recommendations. Similar recommendations from a study by the international ship classification society Det Norske Veritas a year earlier were similarly dismissed as unnecessary by the industry and the state.

    Now, however, we have seen a real-world heavy-weather towing emergency unfold and the results were are not reassuring. The Kulluk incident involved a brand new tug with over twice the horsepower of the Prince William Sound tanker escort tugs, yet it lost its tow line no fewer than five times before the Kulluk grounded near Kodiak. This demonstrates just how difficult towing is in severe Alaskan weather.
    K.C.
    Share on Facebook

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Kennebec Captain For This Useful Post:

    jmad (January 17th, 2013)

  15. #12
    c.captain's Avatar
    c.captain is online now Top Contributer
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    anyplace other than Bayoo LaFlush!
    Posts
    7,444
    Thanks
    953
    Thanked 2,688 Times in 1,641 Posts

    Default Re: Kulluk Grounding and Prince William Sound Escort Tugs

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennebec Captain View Post
    Interesting article about the escort tugs in PWS:"With Kulluk grounding we've been warned"
    This was always released in the Anchorage Daily News as an OpEd and the entire piece is attached here

    Compass: New and better technology is needed for rig towing vessels

    Published: January 16, 2013

    By MARK SWANSON

    The grounding of Shell Oil's Kulluk drill rig reminds us again of Alaska's tough maritime conditions and our vulnerability from coastal shipping and oil activities in the Arctic and around Kodiak, the Aleutians and Southcentral Alaska.

    Rescue vessel crews persevered through a tough response to save the Kulluk. We Alaskans owe a huge vote of thanks to responders who risked lives and equipment to save the rig.

    Maritime activities go on constantly, often in weather too rough for meaningful response to accidents. The Kulluk isn't the first vessel to lose power or a tow and be blown ashore in Alaska. It won't be the last. Hand-wringing won't help.

    We have to prevent accidents, including additional oversight. Citizen advisory groups like ours could be an important part of that oversight.

    The Kulluk incident is an object lesson in the need for best available technology in towing operations and equipment, a lesson that should be applied in Prince William Sound and elsewhere.

    Our council, working with the internationally respected naval architecture firm of Robert Allan Limited, completed a study last fall that recommended, among other things, installation of the best available towing technology on the tugs that escort loaded oil tankers through Prince William Sound.

    Specifically, the study called for more modern winches that can automatically pay out and reel in tow lines under full load. The winches now on the Sound's tugs represent 15-year-old technology and they lack this capability.

    The modern winches recommended by the Allan study permit tugs to apply full towing force and reduce or eliminate the huge tow line surges that come from vessels getting thrown around in big seas. These new winches are designed to help prevent tow line failure by reducing shock loading on the system.

    Most towing exercises in the Sound happen in relatively calm weather. The advantages of the new winches do not become apparent until the weather gets rough. With so many successful escorts and exercises behind them, industry and its regulators have grown comfortable with the old-style winches, and they declined to act on our towing equipment study recommendations. Similar recommendations from a study by the international ship classification society Det Norske Veritas a year earlier were similarly dismissed as unnecessary by the industry and the state.

    Now, however, we have seen a real-world heavy-weather towing emergency unfold and the results were are not reassuring. The Kulluk incident involved a brand new tug with over twice the horsepower of the Prince William Sound tanker escort tugs, yet it lost its tow line no fewer than five times before the Kulluk grounded near Kodiak. This demonstrates just how difficult towing is in severe Alaska weather.

    Bad storms happen all over Alaska, and severe weather just outside of Hinchinbrook Entrance -- where loaded tankers leave the Sound -- is common, more so than in the western Gulf of Alaska where the Shell rig ran into trouble. That's why meteorologists nicknamed the northeast Gulf of Alaska "Coffin Corner."

    It's also why loaded oil tankers are not allowed to pass through Hinchinbrook if weather there exceeds 15-foot seas and 45-knot winds. But even that is no guarantee they will avoid extreme conditions. The well-known coastal weather phenomenon called barrier jets often creates high winds and big waves just outside Hinchinbrook, even when the weather inside is much milder.

    The questions raised are obvious: What if the Kulluk had been a loaded oil tanker experiencing a loss of power in a storm or a barrier jet along the rugged coast just outside Hinchinbrook? Would a rescue have been possible? What happens around the rest of coastal Alaska when a large vessel loses power and no suitable rescue tug is around?

    We don't have answers to those questions, but the Kulluk incident makes a few things clear about what's needed: An ample supply of equipment -- with backups -- for preventing accidents, meaningful oversight of maritime risks and the use of best available technology -- such as towing winches that automatically pay out and retrieve -- in our rough Alaska waters.


    Mark Swanson is executive director of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council.

    Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2013/01/16/275525...#storylink=cpy
    Share on Facebook

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •