Custom Search
Top Stories
Go to Site Index See "Top Stories" main page
REPORTING · 3rd January 2013
Merv Ritchie
SEVEN TUGS AND TOW VESSELS COULDN’T STOP DISASTER - Updated with picture of actual conditions

Immediately on hand during the unfolding drama of the loss of the Royal Dutch Shell Arctic drilling Rig, Kullak, were seven response monsters.

Along with the primary towing vessel designed for the purpose, “The Aiviq”, were Shells support vessels, the Nanuq and the Guardsman. Coast Guard Cutters and Tugs; the Spar; the Hickory and the Alex Haley aka "The Bulldog of the Bering" were all dispatched to the scene. And finally the “Alert” arrived; a massive, over 10,000 hp tug.

All of the above listed Tug Boats and response vessels were able to arrive at the location within hours of being summoned. All were in close proximity.

Numerous tow lines were established and failed. The seas at the onset of the incident were not rough and the winds were relatively (for the North Pacific) light. The initial report of December 28, 2012, stated the incident was 50 miles south of Kodiak Island in 40 mph winds and 20-foot seas. On the morning of December 31 the largest tugs in the North Pacific were secured with tow lines to the Kulluk and the Coast Guard reported a “weather window” as the seas were calm at only 4 feet and the winds at 32 miles per hour. SEE PICTURE OF CONDITIONS ON DECEMBER 29th BELOW

Less than 24 hours later all units gave up on the effort, the men were all evacuated, the tow lines released and the Rig was grounded.

Following is a complete list of the specifications for these units as well as the specifications for the Kulluk, the Shell Oil Rig Platform they were attempting and failed to control and save from grounding.

First is the "Primary Towing Vessel" - the Aiviq - specifically designed, built and commissioned for the task of towing the Kulluk

FROM A SHELL SUPPLIED INFORMATION SHEET

AIVIQ
(PRIMARY ANCHOR HANDLING VESSEL)

SPECS

■ Length: 360.6 ft
■ Width: 80 ft
■ Draft: 24 ft
■ Accommodations: 62
■ Maximum Speed: 15 knots
■ Owner/Operator : Edison Chouest Offshore


NANUQ
(OIL SPILL RESPONSE VESSEL)

SPECS

■ Length: 301 ft
■ Width: 60 ft
■ Draft: 19 ft
■ Accommodations: 41
■ Maximum Speed: 16 knots
■ Owner/Operator: Edison Chouest Offshore


GUARDSMAN (TUG)

SPECS

■ Length: 126 ft
■ Width: 34 ft
■ Draft: 17 ft
■ Accommodations: 15
■ Maximum Speed: 8-12 knots
■ Owner/Operator: Crowley


DETAILS FROM CROWLEY MARITIME CORP

Alert Aware Attentive (TUG)
The Monster of the North Pacific

Class; Prevention and Response Tug (PRT)
■ Propulsion; Z Drive, Azimuthing Stern drive, Reverse tractor
■ Horsepower; 10,192
■ Z drive Azimuthing, Controllable pitch propellers
■ Engines; Twin cat. 3612B
■ Bollard Pull (tons);150
■ Length (ft); 140


DETAILS ON THE USA COAST GUARD VESSELS

Coast Guard Cutter Hickory

■ Based in Homer
■ Displacement: 2,000 long tons (2,000 t) full load
■ Length: 225 ft (69 m)
■ Beam: 46 ft (14 m)
■ Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
■ Propulsion: 2 × Caterpillar 3608 engines Marine Engines 3,100 shp (2,300 kW)
■ Speed: 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph) at full load displacement (80% rated power)
■ Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)


Coast Guard Cutter Spar

■ Based in Kodiak
■ Displacement: 2,000 long tons (2,000 t) (full load)
■ Length: 225 ft (69 m)
■ Beam: 46 ft (14 m)
■ Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
■ Propulsion: 2 × Caterpillar 3608 Engines Marine Engines 3,100 shp (2,300 kW)
■ Speed: 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph) at full load displacement (80% rated power)
■ Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)


Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley
"The Bulldog of the Bering".

■ Based in Kodiak
■ Displacement: 2,592 tons (lt) 3,484 tons (fl)
■ Length: 283 ft (86 m)
■ Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
■ Draught: 17 ft (5.2 m)
■ Propulsion: 4 Caterpillar diesels, twin screws, 6,800 shp
■ Speed: 18 knots
■ Range: 10,000 miles


THE UNIT THE ABOVE VESSELS WERE ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL

FROM INFORMATION SHEET SUPPLIED BY SHELL
KULLUK
(DRILLING UNIT)

■ Length and Width: 266 ft (Diameter of main deck)
■ Draft: 41 ft


SUMMARY

■ The Kulluk was specifically designed and constructed for extended season drilling operations in Arctic waters.

■ The Kulluk was moored in Dutch Harbor, Alaska from fall 2010 until June 2011, when it was moved to Seattle for upgrades. It will be used to drill wells in the Beaufort Sea.

■ The Kulluk is rated to work in weather conditions historically occurring throughout the open water season (July-October).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

■ The Kulluk was built in 1983 and purchased by Shell in 2005. It has been upgraded and refurbished since then to work in the U.S. Arctic.

■ The Kulluk was named by a young schoolgirl from Inuvik in 1982. Kulluk means, “thunder” in Inuvialuktun.


VESSEL INFORMATION

TECHNICAL UPGRADE COST

■ 2006-2012 = $292 million

MAIN UPGRADE ELEMENTS

■ New C-175 engines and control network
■ Change out and “ePOD” engine emission control technology
■ Heli-deck upgrade
■ Noise control and vibration engine mounts
■ BOP stacks x2 with dual shear rams
■ Drilling equipment

SPECS

■ Length and Width: 266 ft (Diameter of main deck)
■ Draft: 41 ft
■ Accommodations: 108
■ Maximum Speed: N/A
■ Owner/Operator: Shell/Noble
■ Unique, purpose-built conical Arctic Class IV hull design
■ High-performance 12 point mooring system

Some of the local Smit Tug Fleet for reference:

Smit Dawn
Gross Tonnage: 78 t
Net Tonnage: 42 t
Dead Weight Tonnage:
Length: 15.00 m
Breadth: 7.25 m
Depth: 2.99 m
Draught:
Self-Propelled Power: 1,740 brake horsepower
Speed: 10.0 knots


Smit Humber
Gross Tonnage: 354 t
Net Tonnage: 106 t
Dead Weight Tonnage:
Length: 28.57 m
Breadth: 10.60 m
Depth: 5.00 m
Draught:
Self-Propelled Power: 3,660 kilowatts
Speed: 12.0 knots


Smit Mississippi
Vessel type: Tug
Gross tonnage: 353 tons
Summer DWT: 240 tons
Length: 31 m
Beam: 12 m
Draught: 5.1 m


Smit Nass

Gross Tonnage: 360 t
Net Tonnage: 233 t
Dead Weight Tonnage: 168 t
Length: 30.17 m
Breadth: 10.97 m
Depth: 3.35 m
Draught:
Self-Propelled Power: 3,560 brake horsepower
Speed: 11.0 knots
Fuel Type: Diesel
Year of Rebuild: 1983


Smit Skeena
Gross Tonnage: 360 t
Net Tonnage: 233 t
Dead Weight Tonnage: 168 t
Length: 30.17 m
Breadth: 10.97 m
Depth: 3.35 m
Draught:
Self-Propelled Power: 3,560 brake horsepower
Speed: 11.0 knots
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak delivers mechanical parts to the tug Aiviq crew while underway 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak delivers mechanical parts to the tug Aiviq crew while underway 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
To clarify and simplify the point we are attempting to make
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 3rd January 2013
On the morning of December 31 the USA Coast Guard wrote;

The crews of the response vessels Alert and Aiviq re-established the tow of the Kulluk Monday morning...

Both of these vessels were larger then 10,000 hp and are considered the most powerful workhorses to resove a potential ship mishap. I restate; the towlines were secured to the rig in relatively calm seas.

The Shell rig was essentially a small tanker, rudderless and powerless; completely at the mercy of the ocean, weather, tides and of course, the ability of the rescue vessels.

Even in the most ideal conditions; relatively calm seas, immediate response, largest available tugs, light load to control, the drifting vessel was lost.

What makes any person of reason believe a fully loaded VLCC will be controlled by tethered tugs?

It can't, it won't, and the concept is not just foolhardy it is an idea that should see promoters of such concepts signed into rehab or an institution where they can do no further harm to themselves or others.

Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper should be immediately located and secured in holding facilities before they can pass any more legislation. All previous legislation encouraged by these two must be revoked. Their faculties of reason are clearly incapacitated!