The M/V Aiviq daparting Vigor Shipyard in June 2012 with the Kulluk rig in tow. Photo via gCaptain Forum

The M/V Aiviq daparting Vigor Shipyard in June 2012 with the Kulluk rig in tow. Photo via gCaptain Forum

The USCG said Friday that it is coordinating a response with Royal Dutch Shell representatives after the company’s brand new $200 million AHTS, the MV Aiviq, “experienced multiple engine failures” while towing the Shell’s arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, approximately 50 miles south of Kodiak Island Friday. We should point out that Aiviq’s engines did not “fail” and at this point it seems like a bad batch of fuel is likely caused the engine down situation.

The crew of the Aiviq reported that they were able to restart one of the ship’s engines and is currently awaiting assistance from the crews of the response vessels Guardsman and the Nanuq, which departed Seward and are expected on-scene early Friday afternoon.

A USCG release said that the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley is currently on scene and monitoring the situation.

“Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of the personnel aboard the Aiviq and Kulluk,” said Capt. Paul Mehler III, commander, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We are working closely with industry representatives to provide assistance and to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

“The buckle on the original towline failed, and that’s something that’ll have to be investigated later,” a Shell spokesman told the Anchorage Daily News. “It was a new buckle that was inspected in Dutch.” The crew was able to reconnect to the rig, but then the Aiviq’s engines cut out. Contaminated fuel is the likely culprit for the engine failures, the Shell spokesman added.

Weather on scene has been reported as 40 mph winds and 20-foot seas.

The Aiviq (pronounced ‘eye-vik’) is a 360-foot ice class anchor handler built by Edison Chouest Offshore in Larose, Louisiana in support of Shell’s 2012 arctic drilling program off the coast of Alaska in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The MV Aiviq is said to be one of the most technically advanced polar-class vessels in the world and the first of its kind to be built in the United States. The vessel was built to American Bureau of Shipping A3 class—capable of breaking ice 1 meter thick at a speed of 5 knots.

The Aiviq, with the Kulluk in tow, left Vigor Shipyards in Seattle, WA back in June but was forced to wait out a series of delays to the start of Shell’s 2012 arctic drilling plans.

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