Shell oil-drilling ship under tow again
The conical drilling unit Kulluk, grounded between the north end of Ocean Bay and Partition Cove on Alaska's Sitkalidak Island, Jan. 4, 2013. / USCG
ANCHORAGE, Alaska A Shell oil-drilling ship that ran aground near a remote Alaska island is under tow again.
The Unified Command for the operation in Anchorage says the Kulluk is being towed at about 5 mph to shelter in Kodiak Island's Kiliuda Bay.
Officials won't estimate its arrival because of weather conditions early Monday winds of about 18 mph and 15-foot ocean swells.
There's a salvage crew of 10 people on board and one Royal Dutch Shell representative.
The Kulluk was refloated late Sunday from rocks.
The oil drilling vessel, which has no engines of its own, was being towed for maintenance when it ran aground during a powerful storm on New Year's Eve.
- Shell oil drilling ship Kulluk refloated near Alaska
- Salvors ready Shell drill ship for tow attempt
- Shell drilling ship Kulluk grounded on Alaska island
The Kulluk is a circular barge 266 feet in diameter with a funnel-shaped, reinforced steel hull that enables it to operate in ice. One of two Shell ships that drilled last year in the Arctic Ocean, it has a 160-foot derrick rising from its center and no propulsion system of its own.
Shell has reported superficial damage above the deck and seawater within that entered through open hatches. Water has knocked out regular and emergency generators, but portable generators were put on board late last week.
Officials said that, so far, there's no sign the hull of the Kulluk has been breached or that oil has spilled from the vessel. It is carrying more than 140,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid.
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