Work Continues on Grounded Drilling Rig
Five flight operations conducted Friday
ANCHORAGE - Calmer seas and clearer weather allowed the Kulluk recovery team to make progress on assessing the grounded offshore oil rig today.
The latest update from the collaborative team that included Shell, state and federal agencies, the military and contractors said they conducted five flight operations Friday. Hundreds of people worked on coordination and planning the recovery effort, including a team of hundreds in Anchorage.
This is the fourth day the 266-foot rig has been aground in Ocean Bay off Sitkalidak Island. The team hasn't explained how they plan to unmoor the rig, but they said they've tested the helicopter landing pad on the rig and staged electric generators to aid in the recovery.
In addition, 14 vessels will be nearby for the effort. Only three are close to the vessel near Kodiak, the other 11 are on their way, some from as far as Seattle. Most will be there by the weekend.
The improved weather conditions also allowed teams to visit the nearest community, Old Harbor. A representative from the Kodiak Borough said at a press conference yesterday that the potential for a spill greatly concerns residents -- many of whom depend on subsistence. "There is a lot concern over how this could disrupt that subsistence lifestyle, so we've conveyed those concerns and I think every effort is being made to be sensitive to that," Duane Dvorak said.
The over 150,000 gallons of fuel and petroleum lubricants onboard the Kulluk have been a big concern to locals and environmentalists. The unified command center said they've seen no signs of sheen on the water that would indicate a spill or of a leak on the rig.