Unified Command Joint Information Center at (907) 433-3417
Information gained is critical to finalizing Kulluk salvage plan
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A team of five salvage experts boarded the grounded drilling unit Kulluk earlier today to conduct a structural assessment to be used to finalize salvage plans, currently being developed by the Kulluk Tow Incident Unified Command.
The five-member team was lowered to the Kulluk by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at about 10:30 this morning. The assessment lasted about three hours. A helicopter safely hoisted the team from the drilling unit at about 1:30 p.m. The Coast Guard helicopter and crew also delivered a state-owned Emergency Towing System to the Kulluk, which will be used during salvage operations.
Efforts to place a team on-board the rig to conduct the assessment were put on hold due to severe weather conditions during the past several days. Calmer conditions this morning created a window that enabled the assessment to take place.
Smit Salvage is heading up salvage operations. Smit is a highly experienced salvage company that has assisted in hundreds of operations worldwide, including the Selendang Ayu salvage that took place off the coast of Western Unalaska in 2004. It also assisted in the Costa Concordia salvage off the coast of Italy in 2012.
The information gained from the on-site assessment will be invaluable in helping to evaluate the available options for freeing the rig from its grounded position. Following the completion of their mission, the assessment team was returned to Coast Guard Air Station/Kodiak.
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Story updated from six salvage members to five.