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Latest tweet from Shell Alaska:  

Unified Command Update #12: Kulluk grounded, vessel condition not yet confirmed:
Earlier ominous tweet when drill rig broke loose (again) four miles from land in 36 foot seas and 60 plus knot winds. Imagine these words in future arctic emergency.
@Shell_Alaska's Susan Childs: "At this time the weather condition does not allow us to move response equipment."
Latest updates at Anchorage Daily News here:
Update, 11:05 p.m.:

The Shell drill rig Kulluk grounded off Kodiak Island at about 9 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The vessel, which again broke loose earlier Monday, is in a rocky area on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island, officials said at a news briefing late Monday.

Earler story:

Royal Dutch Shell's Kulluk drilling rig, re-secured to two ships with towlines early Monday, broke loose once again on Monday evening and was adrift in rough seas about four miles from land toward the south end of Kodiak Island, according to a written statement from a command team that includes Shell and the Coast Guard.

Monday night's development, announced around 8:30 p.m., was the worst yet in a crisis that began Thursday night when the $290 million, 266-foot-diameter Kulluk first lost a towline after the mechanical failure of a shackle used to connect it to the Shell-contracted ship, the Aiviq. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith estimated the rig lost its tow lines most recently sometime before 8 p.m...

12:34 AM PT: Shell tweets.  "A response team will be deployed when it is safe to do so.

12:45 AM PT: Unified Command Release No. 12:

    "Anchorage, Alaska – The Unified Command reports that Kulluk grounded at approximately 9 p.m., Alaska time on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island. The crew of the tug Alert was ordered to separate from the Kulluk at 8:15 p.m. to maintain the safety of the nine crewmembers aboard the vessel.

    “The extreme weather conditions and high seas continue to be a challenge. We have more than 250 people actively involved in the response efforts,” said Susan Childs, Incident Commander, Shell. “Our priority right now is maintaining the safety of our response personnel and evaluating next steps.”

    There were no personnel aboard the Kulluk at the time of grounding, and no injuries have been reported.

    There is reportedly up to 150,000 gallons of ultra-low sulpher diesel on board the Kulluk and roughly 12,000 gallons of combined lube oil and hydraulic fluid. The condition of the vessel has not yet been confirmed and overflights are scheduled pending weather conditions. Unified Command, using a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft, plans to conduct a survey to assess the situation at first light. A response team will be deployed when it is safe to do so."

10:25 AM PT: For a more on the spot report, not currently available in news sources, check out this blog in Alaska by Phil Munger:

Originally posted to akmk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Gulf Watchers Group.

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