ANCHORAGE, AK — The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday said it has lifted the order restricting the movement of Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig from Kiliuda Bay, meaning the operation to tow the damaged rig to Dutch Harbor could begin at any time.
“I reviewed all of the relevant and available information and determined that Shell has met the requirements of the Captain of the Port Order,” said Capt. Paul Mehler III, commander Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and Captain of the Port, Western Alaska. “We will monitor the movement of the Kulluk to Dutch Harbor and will engage if needed.”
Mehler signed the order directing the Kulluk to remain at anchor in Kiliuda Bay on Jan. 7, 2013 after a determination was made that the vessel posed a potential threat to personnel safety and the environment after it ran aground near Sitkalidak Island and was refloated.
In preparation for lifting the Captain of the Port order, written notification was provided from the vessel’s Flag State and/or Class Society that the Kulluk was safe to proceed to its port of destination, and Coast Guard personnel were provided an opportunity to review the final written tow plan for Kulluk’s departure from Kiliuda Bay.
As reported earlier, the Kulluk will be towed by three ocean-going tugs – the Corbin Foss, the Ocean Wave and the Lauren Foss – from Kiliuda Bay to Captains Bay in Dutch harbor. The transit is expected to take 10 days and is dependent on a favourable weather window. Not present in the tow will be the Aiviq due the ongoing investigation into the AHTS’ power loss back in December.
Following a successful trip to Dutch Harbor the Kulluk will be dry towed to Asia where it will undergo repairs.
Download: KULLUK TOW FACT SHEET