Deckboss just listened in on a unified command press conference on the Kulluk situation.
Here are the key points:
• An effort to tow the grounded drilling platform off the beach will be attempted soon. Spokesmen for Shell and the Coast Guard said timing will depend on weather, tides and having all the necessary equipment in place.
• The main tow vessel will be the Aiviq, an enormous oil industry workboat whose engines failed while towing the Kulluk across the North Pacific in late December, precipitating the grounding.
• Assuming the Kulluk can be pulled from the beach — officials talked like this is a given — the rig will be towed about 30 miles to a "place of refuge," Kodiak's Kiliuda Bay, for closer inspection. Here's an animation of the towing plan.
• The officials said no fuel leaks have been detected from the Kulluk, and the Shell man said the platform is "sound and fit to tow."