Drill ship, crew remain stalled on Gulf of AlaskaAssociated PressThe Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Rough weather prevented the Coast Guard from evacuating an 18-member crew of a stalled Shell drill ship in the Gulf of Alaska and another vessel is on the way to prevent the ship from drifting into the Trinity Islands.
The Coast Guard says helicopter crews tried Friday night and early Saturday morning to evacuate the crew of the Kulluk (CULL'-uck), which has no propulsion system and is dependent on other vessels to move it around.
Winds of over 60 mph and waves of about 25 feet were too much for an evacuation.
The Royal Dutch Shell drill ship stalled after the engines of its tow vessel Aiviq (AAH'-vik) failed on Thursday while on the way to Seattle for winter maintenance work. The ship was about 27 miles from the Trinity Islands.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ The Coast Guard prepared Saturday to evacuate an 18-member crew of a Shell drill ship that was stalled in rough Gulf of Alaska waters, south of Kodiak Island.
The Coast Guard requested that the crew evacuate the Kulluk for safety reasons. The guard said it would have no more details until the evacuation was completed.
The Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill ship was being towed Thursday from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands to Seattle when problems arose. By Friday, the ship was stalled in the Gulf with a towing vessel whose engines had failed. A relief tug was sent out on 20-foot waves and winds of 40 mph to rescue the ships.
The Kulluk has no propulsion system. The 360-foot Aiviq was towing the drill ship when the Aiviq reported multiple engine failures. The Aiviq crew was able to restart one engine, and with generators had enough power to maintain its position. Two vessels under contract to Shell left Seward when the trouble began _ the tug Guardsman and The Nanuq, Shell's principal oil spill response vessel.
The Kulluk is one of two drill ships Shell operated this year in the short Arctic Ocean open water season. A round ship with a 160-foot derrick, it resembles a bowling pin in a bowl. It was designed for extended drilling in Arctic waters, and has an ice-reinforced, funnel-shape hull 266 feet in diameter. The conical shape is designed to deflect moving ice downward and break it into small pieces.
The Aiviq is owned and operated by Edison Chouest Offshore of Galliano, La.