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Kulluk Grounding: Miracle no injuries or loss of life

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Article by Tim Bradner published 11 April 2014 by the Alaska Journal of Commerce under the headline: Coast Guard: Tug engine failure blamed on water in fuel

It is a mariner’s worst nightmare: At sea, in a bad storm, pulling a heavy load and working to keep control in a dicey situation. Then, all the engines quit. And won’t restart. Precisely this event occurred in late December 2012 to the crew of the Edison Chouest vessel Aiviq as it struggled to keep towlines on Shell’s conical drill vessel Kulluk. The effort failed. The Kulluk went aground off Kodiak Island and was a total loss, which is now well known and documented. It was a miracle that there were no injuries or loss of life, and the evacuation of 18 crewmembers from the Kulluk’s heaving deck by Coast Guard helicopters during the storm was an exploit that should go down in maritime history.


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