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Dancing with the Kulluk

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Carey Restino: December 27th 2013

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A year ago, a handful of mariners from private vessels, U.S. Coast Guard crews, and those contracted to work for Shell Oil headed into a tremendous storm in an effort to save a buoy-shaped oil rig from grounding off Kodiak Island. The Kulluk, a Shell Oil drill rig that had been working in the Arctic, was adrift off the coast of Kodiak Island and the tug that had been pulling it had lost all engine power as it attempted to tow the rig from Unalaska to Seattle through a winter storm. Now, a year later, Shell is applying for permission to return to the Arctic in 2014. As federal officials review the application, the magnitude of the attempt to rescue the Kulluk has only been told in pieces. Here is one man’s story of that effort as the chief engineer aboard the responding Crowley tug Alert.


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