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Kulluk Update #22 / #23 / #24: Unified Command Daily Summary #01-05-2013 (photos)

Update #24: Unified Command confirms Kulluk is sound and fit to tow

January 5, 2013
Published @HaulingGear 01-05-2013 4:23 PM
ANCHORAGE, AK: Unified Command has developed and approved a recovery plan after a series of inspections aboard the Kulluk.

The drilling rig continues to remain upright, fuel tanks appear to be intact, and there is no threat to the stability of the vessel. Also, naval architects have confirmed the structural strength of the vessel is sound and fit to tow.

Salvage teams are currently aboard the vessel and preparing for the recovery operations. Safety remains the number one priority and will drive all facets of the operation.

The exact timing of a potential towing activity is dependent on weather, tides and operational readiness. Once Unified Command confirms that the operation is safe and ready to move forward, the recovery operation will begin.
A video animation of the proposed towing path is available here on the Unified Command’s website (and on this post.)
The current plan calls for the Kulluk to be towed to Kiliuda Bay for safe harbor – a tow of approximately 30 miles. When the Kulluk arrives in Kiliuda Bay, a more detailed assessment will take place.
Unified Command continues to take into account environmental concerns and cultural sensitivities. Outreach to local communities continues throughout the recovery process. 

Workers prepare equipment and supplies on the airport tarmac in Kodiak Thursday, Jan. 4 to be used in the ongoing Kulluk response and recovery effort. Photo by Greg Martin

January 5, 2013
Anchorage, AK – Unified Command’s daily activity report for Friday, January 4, 2013.
  • The Kulluk continues to remain stable and upright and there is no evidence of sheen in the vicinity.
  • During the assessment by response crew members, seawater was discovered in the 3S7C void. The compromise does not pose a threat to the stability of the vessel.
  • Shell received a permit from Alaska Department of Natural Resources to remove the Kulluk from the location.
  • Unified Command has successfully negotiated with the Old Harbor Native Corporation to secure access to the shoreline near the Kulluk.
  • Representatives of Unified Command also landed in Old Harbor to meet with community leaders to provide an update on the current situation and address questions and concerns.
  • A meeting with Kodiak residents scheduled for Sunday was postponed due to the Russian Christmas holiday. It will be rescheduled when possible.
  • Multiple community outreach calls took place between Unified Command personnel and officials from Old Harbor, Akhiok, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council (RCAC), Cook Inlet RCAC and other stakeholders.
  • Multiple flights took place today to support the response. These flights included:
    • U.S. Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter transported assessment crews to the Kulluk
    • Era Aviation helicopter overflight completed, transporting science professionals who conducted a wildlife survey of the area
    • Two Lynden C-130 flights between Anchorage and Kodiak were completed, delivering and staging response equipment
    • Era Aviation helicopter recovered the assessment team from the Kulluk
  • There are three vessels on scene and another 12 en route to the Kulluk or harbors nearby.
  • After evaluation and assessment, Era Aviation flight crews successfully landed on the helicopter deck for the first time since the Kulluk ran aground.
For the first time since the Kulluk rig grounded a helicopter lands on the deck on Thursday, Jan. 4. Photo by Judy Patrick
The Kulluk remains grounded and upright with no evidence of sheen in the vicinity on Thursday, Jan. 4. The rig grounded in high seas and strong winds on December 31, 2012, and a full scale response and recovery involving the U. S. Coast Guard, Shell, the State of Alaska, local governments and private contractors has been underway since then. Photo by Judy Patrick