ANCHORAGE — Inspectors will descend upon a remote Kodiak Island bay to investigate whether a Royal Dutch Shell LLC drilling vessel will need repairs after spending nearly a week aground.
The Kulluk, a circular barge with a diameter the length of three basketball courts, was pulled off the rocky bottom of waters near Alaska’s Sitkalidak Island on Sunday. It was moved Monday about 45 nautical miles to shelter in Kiliuda Bay, about 43 miles southwest of the city of Kodiak.
Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler, the on-scene federal coordinator, was in the command center when word came that the high tide and the 360-foot towing vessel Aiviq had combined to lift the vessel and pull it off the shallow, rocky bottom.
“I won’t say that I saw anyone high-fiving,” Mehler said. “I’ll say there was certainly a sense of relief, but recognizing now we have a lot more work to do.”
Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum said in a statement the company undertakes significant planning and preparation to make sure such incidents don’t occur.