As WC writes, the Shell drill platform Kulluk is grounded off the rocky shore of Sitkalidak island, off of Kodiak Island, not far from Old Harbor. A more or less average winter storm in the Gulf of Alaska was too much for the towing operation. How long the Kulluk will remain there, whether she will break up from being pounded on the rocks, and whether any of the 150,0000 gallons of diesel on board will spill into the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge are all good questions. That don’t currently have answers.
This is a whole separate ship from the Noble Discoverer. That drilling platform pulled her anchors in Unalaska and, depending on who you believe, ran aground or nearly ran aground. And it’s the Noble Discoverer that was busted in Seward earlier this winter for a number of safety and pollution violations.
And don’t confuse either of these drilling platforms with the pollution control ship, the Arctic Challenger, which still hasn’t gotten Coast Guard certification.
How did anyone ever think that drilling in these waters was a good idea? An “acceptable” risk?
Increasingly, Shell Oil looks like the Keystone Cops, amusing in an old-time silent film, but about as scary as it gets if you care about Alaska, its fishing industry or its environment.
If there was ever a reason to trust Shell Oil, can we all agree that the reason is gone?