Steven Mufson and Juiet Eilperin
A drilling rig that Shell planned to use off Alaska’s Arctic coast ran aground in a storm Monday night, after the crew had been rescued earlier by the Coast Guard. As of late Tuesday, no fuel had spilled.
The $290 million rig Kulluk ran into the rocky shore near Kodiak at 9 p.m., according to the Coast Guard. The agency’s tugboats were unable to prevent the grounding in the midst of a storm with high winds.
According to Destin Singleton, a spokeswoman at the unified command center — which includes Shell, the Coast Guard and representatives from state, local and other groups — “there is no sign of release” of the 143,000 gallons of ultra-low-sulfur diesel the Kulluk is carrying.
Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group’s U.S. Arctic program, said that the situation would have been even more dire if it had happened at the actual drilling sites 1,000 miles north, where it would be difficult for response teams to access the area quickly. “Given that the Kulluk has run aground, it calls into question our readiness to drill in such a remote and risky region,” Heiman said. “The Obama administration needs to impose Arctic-specific safety, training and spill response standards. Clearly we’re not there yet.”
Read the full article, Shell Oil Rig Runs Aground in Alaska, on the Washington Post website.