Shell and Coast Guard Still Evaluating Next Steps for Grounded Drilling Rig
ANCHORAGE - It's been three days, and still no answers on what happens next with the Kulluk. Shell's drilling rig was grounded near Kodiak since New Year's Eve and efforts to assess the damage ond work on recovery have been hampered by weather.
Today, a press conference was held at the Dena'ina center to address the most recent activity on the effort. Representatives from Shell, the U.S. Coast Guard, local communities, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Nobel Drilling read statements on the progress.
Flights over the Kulluk show the rig is still upright and no fuel is visibly leaking from the rig. This has been a major concern since the Kulluk was carrying 143,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of other petroleum products.
A few of the watertight hatches were breached, so the inside of the rig is damaged, but members of the assessment crew were able to close them.
They're also reporting some damage to the hull and the onboard emergency eleectricity system.
Now they're all working on the next step. Shell's Operation Manager and the Incident Commander, Sean Churchfield said, "We are still in the salvage phase of this operation. We have the salvage team onboard conducting assessments. At this stage, I do not have a timeline to share with you because it is unclear on our path forward. We will build that plan as the assessment data comes through."
Shell and the Coast Guard are doing investigations on what went wrong. The Coast Guard's team is on it's way from New Orleans.