Shell oil ship runs aground on Alaska

An oil drilling ship owned by Anglo-Dutch firm Shell ran aground on Alaskan shores after struggling through extreme weather on New Year’s Eve. The 266ft-long ship called The Kulluk was […]

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By Vicky Ellis

An oil drilling ship owned by Anglo-Dutch firm Shell ran aground on Alaskan shores after struggling through extreme weather on New Year’s Eve.

The 266ft-long ship called The Kulluk was being towed in “heavy seas” from Alaska to Seattle in the United States when it went adrift on 28 December, finally grounding on Sitkalidak Island on 31 December.

The ship is reportedly carrying up to 150,000 gallons of ultra-low sulpher diesel on board and roughly 12,000 gallons of combined lube oil and hydraulic fluid. A flyover yesterday by the US Coast Guard spotted no signs of a fuel spill.

The drilling unit which has been upgraded to work in stormy conditions at a cost of $292m (£179m) between 2006 and 2012 had just finished its role in the firm’s 2012 Alaska exploration programme. It was on the way to holing up for the winter, when it was swept onto the southern coast of Alaska.

There were no significant injuries with “no more than two first aid cases”, according to Shell, adding it is working with the relevant authorities to protect the maritime environment near the vessel.

The firm said in a statement: “Shell deeply appreciates the professional and effective response of the responders from the U.S. Coast Guard, Shell, Noble, Edison Chouest and many other organisations who worked together seamlessly at sea and under extreme weather conditions to control the vessel, rescue the crew on board and prevent injury and environmental impact.”

A review of the incident had already begun, the statement added.