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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Comments on Kulluk's current situation, lifted from neven's blog
From commenter "A-team":
Leave it at that? (Day one on the rocks in 30' surf?)
Back in 2000, after 14 years of non-use in Tuktoyaktuk, the Canadians hired a consulting firm to generate a glowing account of the Kullak's previous performance in Beaufort sea ice:
Fascinating bit about the shackle breaking -- was it really newly purchased, is there really a neutron beam facility in Dutch Harbor to check it for cracks (or can you hardly get a cup of warm coffee there)? I've heard that the abrupt loss of tension brought the Aiveq broadside to 40' swells, causing a 50 degree roll and sea water into the engine exhaust/air intakes. That, not asphaltine in deteriorated diesel, caused all four fuel injectors to fail.
We'll have to take Shell's word on the accident -- they've already announced their investigative report won't be made public. Mum's the word too at privately held Edison Chouest Offshore, the nation's largest maritime transport company (over 200 vessels including the Nathan B Palmer). The billionaire Chouest brothers are the largest single donor to Louisianna politician Scalise, exceeding even the Kochs. Scalise has been pressing the Obama administration non-stop to open up more areas for oil and gas exploration.
It is tricky to calculate the degree of sway from the Coast Guard video. The camera was held steady but seemingly not gyroscopically stabled. As the helicopter circles around the wreck at varying distances, the horizon is not quite level. Thus it is difficult to compute the maximal angle or periodicity of sway. The 'survivor anchor' was deployed prior to ground -- though what effect if any it is having remains obscure.
While it is great that the Kulluk is upright for now, I don't believe the 24-gon at the bottom was ever designed to pivot 9902 metric tons of deadweight. The rig is not grounded on a sand or gravel beach but rather off a rocky headland, in 5-6 fathoms. You can see rocks sticking out on all sides in the photos and the nav chart that I have attached.
I think they may end up having to build a breakwater around the wreck or a rock causeway out to it. Either way, not going to be easy to pump the oil ballast. It will have to be replaced with sea water to keep it stable until it can be cut up. Pulling it loose to sink it at sea is very dicey until all the lube and diesel have been lifted out.
I've attached a largish photomontage including a shot of Kulluk in sea ice, along with Dr. Woodgate's map of coastal currents.

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