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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  • Hauk

    I would like to know what makes Aiviq “one of the most technically advanced polar-class vessels in the world”. She has, for example, a very traditional propulsion arrangement (no steerable thrusters) and her largely developable hull form is nothing to boast about. Also, she doesn’t even have a IACS Polar Class classification…

    To make it worse, she seems to have some issues with water on deck while towing:

    • Moose

      >>I would like to know what makes Aiviq “one of the most technically advanced polar-class vessels in the world”.<<

      Marketing. Shell and ECO marketing.

      What do you think the odds are that, when he's towed into the Vigor yard, one of the hard hats says "jeez, you coulda just built it here and saved a lot of trouble."

  • John

    The sorry truth to your question is, because Edison Chouest Offshore and Shell said so. I worked for ECO for 12 years. I served on the Laney Chouest when IT was the most advanced AHTS in the world, and we spent more time broke down at the dock than at sea. the fact is the ship builders in larose couldn’t find their butts in the dark with both hands.The company loves to quote their safety policies until it costs too much money then safety goes out the window.

  • Peter Wright

    I can only see two tiny scuppers on Aiviq’s aft deck, surely this is not so? Are there others hidden or through deck?

    Compare to Fennica and Tor Viking II here:

    where the decks can drain rapidly. On the YouTube video in the above comment there is a cumulative free surface effect apparently into an area that can only be drained over the stern. Just hope the crew remember to keep the watertight doors at the fore end of the after deck firmly closed at all times.

  • T

    Yep, very advanced alright just forgot to spin the fuel.And what about the REQUIREMENT at Chouest to sample oncoming fuel and store it!!!! Ha would not want to be that Captain.

  • Captain David A Dyche III

    My first anchor boat was January 1978 in Alaska. Its a tough business in a harsh environment. There is going to be a lot of growing pains for all concern on a new start up. You pick things up and move on. Good Luck to All.

    Captain David A Dyche III

  • The Usual Suspect

    Shell fuel no doubt?

  • S. Moen

    Sure sounds like alot of folks who think they know everthing. Too bad most of them have never been off the beach.

  • Thomas C.Parks

    Really, you check your water traps and pump fuel in your day tanks daily the engineer not doing his job.I bet they will have to change all the injectors after contaminated fuel pass threw them. When they restarting they were properly only getting 20% power.The Coast Guard had to bring 2000 lb. of parts seems like they would have extra parts(injectors) onboard.If it was a Norwegian boat company do you think it would have lost power.We have to do a better job. Hey I might not know what Iam talkin about but it sure doesn’t look good.

  • Snowflake

    The AIVIQ, will be proven to be a very poorly designed Vessel. It was bow heavy and no way it could run all 4 day tanks and centrifuge without issues. It was a very poorly designed vessel and the truth will be apparent in the near future. Not to mentioned the very inexperienced crew Edison Chouest had on board. The Master was new to ship and had only been onbord a few weeks. The supposed Senior ice master of ECO and Master of the Vessel had zero towing or anchor handling experience. To bad for Edison Chouest this will be a costly mistake on many fronts for them. There was inexperienced personal, a design flaw I’n hull design not enough horse power and who know what else the investigation will find. I was told they were working a 12hr watch system. My understand is the vessel was regulated for s 3 watch system.

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