Unified Command Steps Down on Kulluk Response
Thursday, 14 February 2013
After almost two months, the
Unified Command for the Kulluk response decided to stand down Wednesday
afternoon. The Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig had been under tow across the Gulf
of Alaska when it broke free during a storm and ran hard aground on Sitkalidak Island,
near Old Harbor, on New Year’s Eve. Since then,
Unified Command worked to ensure the safety of all responders, protect the
environment and provide updates on the Kulluk’s condition.
an email, the UC said the vessel will be towed to Dutch Harbor.
The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the Kulluk until that move. During the
transport to Dutch
Harbor, the rig will be
accompanied by three ocean-going tugs and an additional response vessel. Once
there, the rig will be prepared for a dry-tow to Asia
for repairs. The email said the decision to move the Kulluk from its current
location in Kiliuda
Bay came after the
completed damage assessment revealed no damage to the rig’s inner hull and fuel
tanks were intact. Any damage to the vessel has been repaired in the last few
weeks and the vessel has been sealed for water and weather tightness. The
journey to Dutch Harbor is expected to take up to 10 days
and the exact date for departure is unknown.
UC said clean-up of the remaining debris on Sitkalidak Island
will continue. The email said Shell will work with the Old Harbor Native
corporation to carry out the removal safely.
general, the UC said more than 750 individuals from around the world responded
to the Kulluk’s grounding.