Shell oil announced today, Jan. 7, 2013, that recovery crews had refloated the grounded oil rig Kulluk. Favorable high tides at Sikalidak Island assisted the crews of the anchor handling vessel AIviq to tow the drillship toward safe harbor at Kiliuda Bar shortly after 1:00am CST today. The ship will undergo inspection. More than 730 people have been engaged in the incident response. The US Coast Guard led the Unified Command in response to the grounding.
Shortly thereafter Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe
made the following statement:
"The battered rig may finally be free, but after this latest fiasco Shell's reputation is in tatters. The time has come for the US government to act. It is now patently clear that it is impossible to drill for oil safely in the Arctic. President Obama must step in and rewrite his policy on the frozen north to stop one of these near misses becoming a major environmental disaster in one of the planet’s most delicate ecosystems.
"The Kulluk incident has raised many glaring safety issues and serious questions must be asked of Shell's decision-making. Investors will be watching this latest mishap and asking how much longer Shell can persevere with a multi-billion dollar Arctic drilling program that has been characterized by one glaring operational blunder after another."
The drill rig ran broke free from its towlines and ran aground on Dec. 31, 2012.
Sources: Shell Oil