Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Kulluk Tow Incident SITREP #: 8


Division of Spill Prevention and Response
Prevention and Emergency Response Program



Ocean Bay/Partition Cove, Kodiak Island

SPILL #: 12249936201

TIME/DATE OF DISTRIBUTION: 7:45 p.m., January 5, 2013

POTENTIAL RESPONSIBLE PARTY (PRP): Shell Exploration and Production Company

INCIDENT LOCATION: The conical drilling unit (CDU) Kulluk grounded at a location between the north end of Ocean Bay and Partition Cove on Sitkalidak Island. The location of the grounded vessel is Lat 57⁰ 5' 28.099N, Long 153⁰ 6' 23.546W.

TIME/DATE OF SPILL: The CDU Kulluk grounded at 8:48 p.m., December 31. As of January 5, the Kulluk is upright and is not showing any signs of a breach of the hull or sheen. The tug Aiviq and the tug Alert lost their tow of the CDU Kulluk on December 31. The M/V Aiviq lost its tow shortly after 4:30 p.m. While the tug Alert was attempting to hold the Kulluk in place an engine warning system alerted crew of over taxing the engine and required the Alert to temporarily reduce power on the engine, which impacted the towing operation. The towline was released at approximately 8:10 p.m. due to safety concerns. The CDU Kulluk subsequently drifted and went aground at the above location.

HOW/WHEN SPILL WAS DISCOVERED: At the time of the grounding, the CDU Kulluk was currently carrying 143,000 gallons of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of other petroleum products.

TYPE/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT SPILLED: The salvage crew reported no sheen during operations on January 5.

CAUSE OF SPILL: The CDU Kulluk went aground after the towlines between the vessel and the two tow vessels parted.

SOURCE CONTROL: Unknown at this time.

RESPONSE ACTION: The Unified Command continues to mobilize spill response and salvage equipment. Spill response plans have been developed for the specific areas near the Kulluk and the plan is being updated daily based on weather and operations. The January 3 Kulluk assessment team inspected all fuel tanks and voids; the three upper decks and the lower storage deck was reported to have water damage. The fuel tanks which are located at the five meter level were found to be intact with no fuel leakage detected. During the assessment by the salvage crew members, seawater was discovered in the 3S‐7C internal void compartment. The compromise does not pose a threat to the stability of the vessel. An overflight with three biologists, two from LGL Alaska Research Associates Inc and one from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, was conducted January 4 to survey any wildlife in the area, and spotted two brown bears on the Ocean Bay shoreline. The earthquake that occurred in Southeast Alaska at 11:59 p.m. January 4, 2013 did not affect the operation. Eleven salvage team members were placed on board the Kulluk on January 5, 2013 in preparation for moving the vessel. Flight operations were suspended for the remainder of the day due to weather conditions. Assets continue to be staged in support of vessel removal. A meeting was also held today to keep area stakeholders informed of the current situation. A preliminary Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Plan is also being developed. A press conference attended by a number of local media as well as other media via phone was held today.

RESOURCES AFFECTED: The shorelines of Partition Cove on Sitkalidak Island are primarily comprised of mixed sand and gravel beaches. Several salmon‐bearing streams are also in the general area. The shorelines of Ocean Bay are primarily comprised of exposed tidal flats with salt marsh lagoon at the mouth of a large salmon‐bearing stream in the middle of the bay. Spill protection plans exist to protect those areas. Harbor seal concentrations are present in MacDonald Lagoon, also known as Fox Lagoon. Overwintering waterfowl, shorebirds, other bird species may be present. Steller’s eiders are potentially present in the nearshore waters. The Steller’s Eider is an Endangered Species Act (ESA)‐listed species. Sitkalidak Island is within designated critical habitat for the Steller sea lion which may be present in the area. Sitkalidak Island is within designated critical habitat for the ESA‐listed Southwest sea otter population which may be present in the area.
Sea lions were spotted in the water in the vicinity of the Kulluk and mountain goats were spotted on the adjacent uplands by the Kulluk assessment team.

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: The Unified Command is managing the salvage and potential spill response phase of the response. Spill responders and equipment are currently mobilized and will implement spill response operations as soon as weather permits, if necessary. The salvage plan is being developed to recover the vessel as appropriate based on reports from the assessment team. The implementation of the plan will begin as soon as all equipment, personnel, weather and conditions of the Kulluk meet operational expectations. A public meeting is being organized in Old Harbor on Monday January 7. Weather permitting, local spill responders will be deploying boom tomorrow morning to protect two streams in the Ocean Bay area. Additionally, the salvage crew is planning to attach the towline from the M/V Aiviq to the CDU Kulluk tomorrow, again weather permitting.

WEATHER: Today: winds south/southeast 13 to 20 knots with gusts 25 knots decreasing this evening to light and variable winds out of the west. Seas 5’ to 10’ with occasionally 14' waves and decreasing to 3’ to 5’ with occasionally 6’ waves. Tomorrow: winds south 20 to 27 knots with gusts to 37 knots. Seas 10' ‐ 13' with occasional 18' waves.

Incident Commander: Sean Churchfield, Shell
SOSC: Steve Russell, ADEC
FOSC: Paul Mehler, USCG Sector Anchorage
LOSC: Duane Dvorak, Kodiak Island Borough


FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannon Miller, Public Information Officer, (907) 269‐7684 or Ty Keltner, Public Information Officer, ADEC (907) 388‐8822. To contact the Joint Information Center, please call (907) 433‐3417, or visit the following website for additional information:
http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/aiviq Or https://www.piersystem.com/go/site/5507/

A community information line has been established for the public, the number is:
(907)771‐7910 within Anchorage or (866)771‐7910 outside of Anchorage. Page 2 of 3

Location of the Grounded Vessel