Salvage assessment team boards grounded Kulluk
KODIAK, Alaska -- A team of six salvage experts has boarded the grounded drilling unit Kulluk to conduct a structural assessment to be used to finalize salvage plans, currently being developed by the Kulluk Tow Incident Unified Command.
The six-member team was lowered to the Kulluk by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at about 10:30 am. 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 over the past several days. Calmer conditions created a window that enabled the assessment to take place.
Smit Salvage is heading up salvage operations. Smit is a 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.