Kulluk drilling unit reaches harbor on Kodiak Island off Alaska

The Kulluk, a conical drilling unit, was safely towed to a harbor on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska where it will undergo a thorough safety assessment before resuming its journey to its winter harbor in Seattle for repairs and maintenance, said Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

The Kulluk was driven aground by violent weather on the southeast shoreline of the uninhabited Sitkalidak Island on Dec. 31, 2012, while under tow to Seattle. The incident resulted in no significant injuries and no environmental impact.

After weather delays, the drilling unit was towed Jan. 7 to a safe harbor about 30 miles from where it ran aground (OGJ Online, Jan. 7, 2013).

“We undertake significant planning and preparation in an effort to ensure these types of incidents do not occur. We’re very sorry it did,” said Shell Oil Co. Pres. Marvin Odum.

“At this stage, it’s too early to gauge any impact on our ongoing exploration plans. In the meantime, we will participate in the US Coast Guard’s investigation into the causes of this incident and will implement lessons learned,” he said.

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