Tis’ but a scratch!

When last we checked in on Royal Dutch Shell’s “High Tech” Arctic drilling operation they were pretty hosed, eh?  Their containment unit was crushed like a beer can at half its designed operating depth on a clear sunny day in Puget Sound Washington.

Well the weather is not always so nice as that farther north and later in the season and the drilling rig Shell has been using, the Kulluk, and Aiviq the tug moving it to it’s winter quarters in Seattle from Dutch Harbor (famous from Deadliest Catch), ran into some.

Now what some people would call a ‘big storm’ is not so much by comparison to your typical gale, ask anyone who has lived in Maine or Syracuse (6″?  A dusting.  You don’t even get a snow day.).  This one was big enough though, 40′ seas and 70 mph winds.  Kulluk broke her tow and started drifting.  Then when they finally got a line on her again the engines on Aiviq went out, all of them.  Bad diesel they say.

So they called in the Coast Guard which was luckily enough based quite nearby on Kodiak Island instead of a thousand miles away like they would be during actual drilling and they were able to restart Aiviq and with the help of a couple of Cutters start towing again.

Monday, New Year’s Eve, they gave up on that and intentionally grounded Kulluk on the environmentally sensitive but uninhabited Sitkalidak Island near Kodiak Island with the intention of re-floating it and trying again when the weather moderated.

And it did, to a more typical 30′ swell and 35 mph breeze which the Coast Guard divers looked at and decided was maybe not as moderate as they needed to survive.

There it sits today, Wednesday, rocking gently back and forth on a sandy beach with no sign of leaking its 143,000 gallons of fuel or 12,000 gallons of lubricants and hydraulic fluid OR getting pounded to razor blades on the rocks depending on whether you believe Shell propoganda or not.

As always EdwardTeller @ Firedog Lake is on top of the story with these posts I highly recommend you read-

But if you prefer corporate media instead of DFH Firebagger bloggers here’s a sample-


  1. ek hornbeck
  2. tahoebasha3

    for highlighting these desperate attempts by Shell Oil, to exploit the Arctic “treasures,” at the expense of the most pristine of natural environmental phenomenas.  I haven’t had the chance to read all the links yet, but will do so.  I have been fighting these developments for years (in my own right).  If only we could somehow awaken thousands and thousands of the impending dangers, in all respects, of drilling in the ANWR.  

  3. ek hornbeck

    The stupid apes with the big tasty brains.

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