Shell Oil Rig Runs Aground in Alaska with 139,000 Gallons of Fuel on Board

Kulluk Shell Oil PlatformUSCG/Public Domain

Kulluk Oil Rig Broke Free During a Storm

Yet another example of how dangerous offshore oil exploitation can be. The Kulluk oil platform, owned by Royal Dutch Shell, ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska with 139,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of lubricating oil and hydraulic fluid, enough to cause a lot of damage. The Kulluk broke free from a tow ship because of stormy weather, and so far it seems like the worst has been avoided. But the U.S. Coast Guard (they took the photos you see in this article) is hard at work monitoring the rig and trying to minimize the damage.

Kulluk Shell Oil PlatformUSCG/Public Domain

The Kulluk is now immobilized on the southeast coast of Sitkalidak Island.

At a news conference in Anchorage on Tuesday afternoon, Capt. Paul Mehler III, the federal on-scene coordinator, said that a reconnaissance flight showed the Kulluk was upright and stable, with no significant motion.

“The results are showing us that the Kulluk is sound,” Captain Mehler said. “No sign of breach of hull, no sign of release of any product.” He said the response team hoped to get salvage experts aboard the ship to get a better picture of damage.

Steven Russell of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said that, so far, there was no sign of harm to the environment or wildlife. (source)

We'll keep an eye on the Kulluk story as it develops. Hopefully that's all there is to it and it doesn't get any worse.


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