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    Efforts to salvage Arctic rig "postponed"

    News // January 3, 2013

    The rig is grounded on the south-east side of Sitkalidak Island.

    BBC News Online reports that attempts to salvage Shell's drilling rig Kulluk, which grounded off the Alaskan coast, have been delayed because of high seas and strong winds. The rig ran aground on December 31st after drifting in stormy weather as it was being towed. The rig is grounded on the south-east side of Sitkalidak Island.

    According to the US Coast Guard, the rig, carrying about 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of other oil products, appears stable, and there is no sign of a release of any product.

    According to the latest report from the joint response team, a team of five salvage experts recently boarded the drilling unit to conduct a structural assessment to be used to finalize salvage plans, which are being developed by the Kulluk Tow Incident Unified Command.

    The five-member team was lowered to the Kulluk by a US Coast Guard helicopter. The assessment lasted about three hours. The Coast Guard helicopter and crew also delivered a state-owned emergency towing system to the Kulluk, which will be used during salvage operations.

    Smit Salvage is heading up salvage operations. The information gained from the on-site assessment will be invaluable in helping to evaluate the available options for freeing the rig from its grounded position. Following the completion of their mission, the assessment team was returned to Coast Guard Air Station/Kodiak.


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