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Tug Towing Shell Drilling Unit Suffers Engine Failures Near Kodiak

By Chris Klint Channel 2 News10:37 a.m. AKST, December 28, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding Friday to engine failures aboard a tugboat towing one of the drilling units used by Shell Oil in the Beaufort Sea this year, a day after news broke that a drillship from the project had been cited by the Coast Guard in Seward.

Coast Guard spokesperson Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley says the tugboat Aiviq reported the problems about 50 miles south of Kodiak, while towing the mobile drilling unit Kulluk.

“The crew of the Aiviq reported that they were able to restart one of the (ship’s) engines and is currently awaiting assistance from the crews of the response vessels Guardsman and the Nanuq, which departed Seward and are expected on-scene early Friday afternoon,” Mosley wrote in a Friday statement on the incident.

The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley is already at the scene, with reported weather including winds at 40 mph and 20-foot seas. Coast Guard personnel are coordinating their response with representatives of Royal Dutch Shell.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the drillship Noble Discoverer had been cited by the Coast Guard for crew safety and pollution-equipment violations during a November port call in Seward. The ship is not being allowed to leave port until the issues are corrected.

Contact Chris Klint

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