Shell Oil Drilling Rig Kulluk Aground on Sitkalidak Island, currently no signs of a fuel spill – 020113 1925z

KullukEvacuation 31dec2012.jpg

A helicopter delivers personnel to Kulluk on 31 December 2012
(Click photo for source)

An overnight Coast Guard flight over an Alaska drilling rig that ran aground in shallow water off a small island on New Year’s Eve found no signs of a fuel spill.

But officials at a unified command center run by the Coast Guard, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, state responders and others said theyll have to wait until daylight to know for sure what environmental impact the grounding might have caused. TheKulluk grounded Monday night on rocks off the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island, an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Alaska. The North Pacific storm that has caused problems for Shells efforts to move the drill into place near Kodiak Island is expected to continue Tuesday, at a slightly milder intensity, said spokeswoman Darci Sinclair.

The storm has included winds gusting near 70 mph and swells to 35 feet and the forecast calls for winds to drop to gusts of up to 40 mph with swells up to 20 feet. Theyre planning additional overflights, weather permitting, during daylight hours, Sinclair said about two hours before sunrise in Alaska. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, issued a statement Tuesday expressing his concerns about the Kulluk situation. Oil companies keep saying they can conquer the Arctic, but the Arctic keeps disagreeing with the oil companies, Markey said. Drilling expansion could prove disastrous for this sensitive environment. The Kulluk was being towed by a 360-foot anchor handler, the Aiviq, and a tugboat, the Alert. The vessels were moving north along Kodiak Island, trying to escape the worst of the storm. Sitkalidak is on the southeast side of Kodiak Island. About 4:15 p.m., the drill ship separated from the Aiviq about 10 to 15 miles off shore and grounding was inevitable, Coast Guard Cmdr. Shane Montoya, the acting federal on-scene coordinator, told reporters.

Once the Aiviq lost its tow, we knew the Alert could not manage the Kulluk on its own as far as towing, and thats when we started planning for the grounding, he said. The command center instructed the nine tug crew members to guide the drill ship to a place where it would cause the least environmental damage. The tug cut the unmanned ship loose at 8:15 p.m. and it grounded at 9 p.m. near the north tip of Ocean Bay on Sitkalidak. The Alert was not able to do anything as far as towing the Kulluk but tried to maintain some kind of control, Montoya said. The drill ship drafts 35 to 40 feet of water. The Coast Guard planned to fly out early Tuesday to plan a salvage operation and possible spill response. It is carrying 150,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid, Montoya said. Susan Childs, Shells on-scene coordinator, said it was too early to know how the vessel would react to the pounding of the storm when it was aground and stationary.

She was optimistic about its salvage prospects and chances for staying intact. The unique design of the Kulluk means the diesel fuel tanks are isolated in the center of the vessel and encased in very heavy steel, she said. When the weather subsides and it is safe to do so, we will dispatch crews to the location and begin a complete assessment. The Kulluk is designed for extended drilling in Arctic waters and underwent $292 million in technical upgrades since 2006 to prepare for Alaska offshore exploration. The drill ship worked during the short 2012 open water season in the Beaufort Sea off Alaskas north coast. Its ice-reinforced, funnel-shape hull can deflect moving ice downward and break it into pieces. Attached to a drilling prospect, the Kulluk is designed to handle waves 18 feet high. When disconnected from a well, its designed to handle seas to 40 feet. Garth Pulkkinen of Noble Corp., the operator of the drill ship, said it was never in danger of capsizing.

The vessel first separated from a towing vessel Thursday night south of Kodiak Island. It was carrying a skeleton crew of 17 as it was towed by the Aiviq from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands to Seattle for maintenance. The tow line broke at a shackle attached to one of the vessels. It was new. It was inspected before it left Dutch, but it broke, said Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith. Before a line could be reattached, the Aiviqs engines failed, possibly from contaminated fuel. The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley attempted to secure the drifting drill ship but that line failed and wrapped itself around one of the cutters propellers, requiring the cutter to return to Kodiak on one propeller. With bad weather predicted, the Kulluks crew was evacuated Saturday. They hooked up emergency tow lines and left them trailing behind the vessel in case they were needed. The Aiviq, with its engines restored, and a tug re-established lines to the drill ship, but lines broke Sunday. During a lull in the storm early Monday, the crew of Alert grabbed the original 400-foot line trailing the drill ship and later the Aiviq grappled aboard one of the emergency lines.

Tuesday, 01 January, 2013 at 18:25 UTC RSOE

So far, the Shell Oil drilling rig Kulluk is reported to have remained intact with no observed leaks of diesel fuel, lube or hydraulic oil, after grounding on Alaskas Sitkalidak Island on Monday night. The video below was taken yesterday by Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis from a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The weather conditions were reported to be 40 mph winds and 20 foot seas. Rick Spilman

Related: Waves crash on grounded Shell drilling ship in Alaska

Black Elk Oil rig explosion in Gulf of Mexico: 11 injured airlifted to hospital, 2 missing, 9 unhurt – Updated 181112 0200z

The U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans confirms there was an offshore platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that happened around 9:15 a.m. Friday.

It is believed to be off the coast of Grand Isle in Federal Waters.

Capt. Ed Cubanski with the U.S. Coast Guard says contrary to previous reports there have been no confirmed deaths from the explosion.

The platform is a production facility.

There were 22 people on the platform at the time of the explosion.

Two people are reported missing, 11 were initially airlifted to local hospitals, and nine were uninjured during the explosion.

Officials say crews from other oil rigs were helping to evacuate the people on the platform, and hopefully the two missing people are with another crew.

The search for them continues.

A hospital spokesperson says two of the critically injured were airlifted to the Baton Rouge General-Mid City Burn Center from a hospital in Marrero, LA.

Two are still en route to Baton Rouge from the hospital in Marrero, LA via ambulance.

The hospital says the two that are already at the Baton Rouge hospital are in critical condition with major burns. There is no word on the other two victims.

The Coast Guard activated a “command center” in Houma, LA to investigate the incident.

A cleanup crew been dispatched to handle any possible pollution.

Capt. Cubanski says there is an oil sheen that is about one half mile by 200 yards.

A Coast Guard crew out of Morgan City, LA will help lead the investigation into the accident itself. They say it’s still too early to get an exact pinpoint on how the accident will impact the environment.

John Hoffman, the CEO of Black Elk says “It’s very tough. We’re almost like family and when something like this happens, it tears at our hearts.”

Hoffman says their thoughts are with the victims and their families.

“It’s a horrible day but we are going to hold together. First and foremost we have to take care of those who were involved.”

The U.S. Coast Guard says the platform was “shut-in” meaning production had been stopped so crews could perform repairs.

Workers were using a torch to cut a 3-inch line that was 75-feet long when the explosion happened.

There was about 28 gallons of product in that line. The fire is out and there is no oil believed to be leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

A Congressional source says the Gulf oil rig fire caused by an acetylene torch cutting an oil line.

An official said the platform in question is a shallow water platform located in West Delta Block 32 in the Gulf of Mexico, about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, south of New Iberia on the south-central Louisiana coast.

Plaquemines Port Authority was immediately notified by the Coast Guard and are on stand-by in Venice to support the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is on the scene with multiple boats and aircrafts.

Three commercial vessels are also on scene. ES&H clean-up has been dispatched to handle any possible pollution.

They have set up their command center in Houma. Black Elk Energy, a Houston-based company, has a platform in that area, but it is unknown if that company owns the one that had the explosion.

Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC, announced in October that drilling and major rig work on the first of the 23 wells started in November.

The preliminary report says a worker was cutting a pipe that had oil in it and it ignited.

The fire has been extinguished. The preliminary report also states an oil sheen can be seen in the water.

Sources say the structure of the platform is intact with no structural damage from the explosion.

Saturday, 17 November, 2012 at 04:50 UTC RSOE

Coast Guard calls off search for two missing workers after oil rig explosion

Gerald Herbert / AP

In this aerial photograph, a supply vessel moves near an oil rig damaged by an explosion and fire on Friday in the Gulf of Mexico about 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.

By NBC News staff and wire services

The Coast Guard called off the search for two workers missing after an explosion and fire devastated an oil rig off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Three helicopter crews, a Coast Guard cutter and a fixed-wing aircraft crew had searched a 1,400-square-mile area around the platform, which is operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy, the Coast Guard said in a statement. – NBC

Post-SANDY navigation response in full swing

NOAA’s navigation response teams and other survey assets are in the water (or soon will be) as they respond to SANDY’s destruction, checking for underwater debris and shoaling that may pose a risk to navigation. Tasked by the U.S. Coast Guard Captains of the Port, NOAA vessels can use multibeam echo sounders or side scan sonar, as conditions warrant, to search for the answers that speed resumption of shipping and other vessel movements.

As of noon today:

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson started out this morning for New York Harbor, where they will survey for obstructions in waterways, starting at daybreak tomorrow. Visual reconnaissance indicates debris and missing containers may pose a danger to shipping.

Navigation Response Team 5 mobilized from Connecticut and got underway in New York at first light this morning, surveying Anchorage Channel. Their next priorities are the route up to the Manhattan cruise ship terminal, Sandy…

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US Coast Guard searching for missing towboat captain



The Coast Guard is searching for a missing towboat captain west of Pocasset, Mass., today (Wednesday).

Watchstanders from the Sector Southeastern New England command center received a distress call at approximately 1 a.m. from the captain of the 29-foot TowBoat U.S. vessel Triple J, reporting that his vessel was taking on water.

A 25-foot Response Boat from Station Cape Cod Canal, a 41-foot utility boat from Station Woods Hole and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tigershark were immediately launched to search for the captain.

The Wareham, Mass., harbor master found the Triple J unmanned and partially submerged around 6 a.m. approximately three miles south of Hog Island Channel.

“He called us on a VHF-radio and we were able quickly find a fixed position,” said Lt. Brian Hall, the command duty officer at Sector Southeast New England. “We launched several assets and are conduct a through search of the area.”

Assisting in the search are:

  • Bourne, Mass., Police Department
  • Wareham Harbor Master
  • Marion, Mass., Harbor Master

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US Coast Guard rescue 2 missing divers off Sebastian Inlet, Florida

The Coast Guard rescued two missing divers Friday afternoon approximately 10 miles east of Sebastian Inlet, Fla.

The divers became separated from thier boat and were drifting for more than five hours before being located by a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

The Coast Guard received notification at 12:30 p.m. Friday from the dive vessel Bangstick that two divers who went down at 9:40 a.m. were overdue in their resurfacing by about an hour. The Coast Guard immediately launched multiple assets to search by sea and air.

The divers were spearfishing when they became separated from their vessel, and drifted approximately four miles south of the dive boat’s location.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater helicopter crew spotted the two missing divers, deployed their rescue swimmer, and vectored in a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce, Fla., to retrieve the divers from the water.

Once medically cleared, the divers were transported back to the dive vessel Bangstick.

Also assisting in the case were:

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami airplane crew
A Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral, Fla., boatcrew
Two boatcrews from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
A boatcrew from Indian River County
A Brevard County helicopter crew

“The Coast Guard cannot stress enough the importance of safety at sea,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Stefan Overton, search and rescue controller, Coast Guard Sector Miami. “The precautions taken by these divers to equip themselves with an inflatable device, as well as a signaling device, significantly increased their chances for survival and for being spotted by rescue crews. We worked closely with our state and local partner agencies during this search and rescue case, andwe are extremely pleased to have found these individuals alive and well.”

For more information on boating safety:

US Coast Guard suspends search for overboard tug master – Updated Thurs 26th April 2012

The US Coast Guard is searching for a 48-year-old man who may have fallen from a Boston bound tugboat approximately nine miles off the coast of Newport, R.I., Wednesday.

The crew of New York-based 91-foot tug Steven-Scott called the Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England Command Center at 2:40 p.m., reporting the man was last seen around 1:30 p.m. and that it was believed he fell overboard.

The Coast Guard has issued an urgent marine information broadcast to alert mariners in the area of the situation and to report any sightings of the person.

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Point Judith, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Castle Hill, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and the Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark from Newport, have been dispatched for the search.

The man may not have been wearing a lifejacket when he fell overboard.

“We responded quickly, launching boat, cutter, and aircraft crews,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, the search and rescue controller at the 1st Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston. “We are putting every effort into locating him and continue to hope for the best outcome.”

The current weather conditions on scene are 20 to 22-knot winds, 3 to 6-foot seas and a water temperature of 52 degrees.

Another tug is en route to relieve the Steven-Scott of its tow of a barge carrying 45,000 barrels of jet fuel.

Thurs 26th April 2012 Update:

Coast Guard suspends search for overboard tug master

BOSTON — The Coast Guard has suspended its search pending further developments for a 48-year-old man who was reported to have fallen overboard from a Boston-bound tugboat approximately nine miles south of Newport, R.I., Thursday at 1:36 p.m.

Coast Guard crews covered more than 775 square miles searching for the master of the New York-based 91-foot tug Steven-Scott.

The crew of the Steven-Scott contacted the Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England Command Center at 2:40 p.m., Wednesday, reporting that the man was last seen at approximately 1:30 p.m. and that he may have gone overboard.

“The Coast Guard conducted a thorough search with multiple assets through the night, but unfortunately they did not yield new information,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search and rescue controller at the 1st Coast Guard District in Boston.

Searching were crews from:

In the Northeast, the Coast Guard has responded to three boat-related drownings since April 1 of this year. Boaters and beach-goers are encouraged to remain cautious as the weather warms, follow safe boating practices, and always wear a lifejacket.

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