Storm impedes salvage of grounded drilling ship

Jan 02, 2013 -- 1:09pm

 

- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — High seas and strong winds are preventing crews from boarding an oil drilling ship to check for any damage after the large vessel went aground off an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Alaska. A Coast Guard plane and a helicopter flew over the Kulluk on Tuesday, but severe weather didn't permit putting marine experts on board the drilling rig, which had grounded on a sand and gravel beach in stormy seas. The storm eased Tuesday, with gusts up to 35 mph and waves up to 30 feet high, and similar conditions are expected Wednesday. Federal on-scene response coordinator Captain Paul Mehler said the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig is carrying about 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid, and appeared stable.

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