MV Aiviq Breaks Down in Alaska While Towing Shell’s Arctic Drilling Rig

Things should look better once its daylight. Its still a couple hours until daylight at Kodiak.

I’d like to hear their actual position and course and speed. If someone has access to sat AIS. Also, a report of actual on scene wx (not a forecast).

Is it a good idea to take everyone off KULLUK? What if they part the tow again? It would be a lot more difficult to make tow again without men aboard KULLUK and powered equipment working.

[QUOTE=rshrew;92095]Why they left Dutch a week ago with such a crappy forecast is the real question.[/QUOTE]

Because they had a date in Seattle and the guys on boats don’t make the decisions on when to depart for a destination.

This article says they are 12 - 13 hours from Trinity Islands at current drift rate.

Drifting towards Trinity Islands

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - High winds and waves prevented the Coast Guard from evacuating an 18-member crew of a stalled Shell drill ship in the Gulf of Alaska and another vessel was on the way Saturday to prevent the ship from drifting into the Trinity Islands, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Helicopter crews tried unsuccessfully Friday night and early Saturday morning to evacuate the crew of the Kulluk, which has no propulsion system and is dependent on other vessels to move it around, Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class David Mosley said.

Winds of over 60 mph and waves of 20 to 25 feet were too much for an evacuation, Mosley said. “It’s a very dynamic situation,” he said.

The Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill ship stalled after the engines of its tow vessel Aiviq failed on Thursday while on the way from the Aleutian Islands to Seattle for winter maintenance work. Since then, the ship has drifted west from Kodiak, and was about 27 miles from the Trinity Islands early Saturday morning, Mosley said.

“We don’t want it to go aground,” he said. “When a vessel goes aground, it’s directly played upon by the waves hitting it and having it hit something solid.”

At the rate it is drifting, the Kulluk could hit the islands in 12-13 hours, he said.

The Nanuq, Shell’s principal oil spill response vessel, was expected to reach the drill ship within hours. The plan was for Nanuq crews to attach a tow line to the Kulluk and take control as the 360-foot Aiviq continues its repairs.

A relief tug under contract with Shell, The Guardsman, left Seward and arrived Friday to try to provide more propulsion, while the Coast Guard delivered repair parts by air to the Aivik. The Aiviq crew was able to restart one engine, and with generators had enough power to maintain its position.

The Kulluk is one of two drill ships Shell operated this year in the short Arctic Ocean open water season. A round ship with a 160-foot derrick, it resembles a bowling pin in a bowl. It was designed for extended drilling in Arctic waters, and has an ice-reinforced, funnel-shape hull 266 feet in diameter. The conical shape is designed to deflect moving ice downward and break it into small pieces.

The Aiviq is owned and operated by Edison Chouest Offshore of Galliano, La.

Not sure what the guardsman is doing he’s making 6kts the nanuq was on a second ago in front if the aiviq

[QUOTE=rshrew;92114]Not sure what the guardsman is doing he’s making 6kts the nanuq was on a second ago in front if the aiviq

If they are going to put a line on her it will be tough work in that weather.


[QUOTE=tugsailor;92090]As for the DISCO, I just found this in ADN:

Coast Guard finds safety issues with Shell Arctic drilling rig

Published: December 27, 2012 Updated 8 hours ago
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The Noble Discoverer prepares for its initial Chukchi Sea drilling operation in this view from the deck of the Tor Viking icebreaker September 8, 2012.

Shell Oil photo

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By KIM MURPHY — Los Angeles Times

SEATTLE – A drilling rig that launched landmark exploratory oil operations in the Chukchi Sea this summer has been cited by the U.S. Coast Guard for serious “discrepancies” in its safety and pollution discharge equipment, the latest in a series of vessel problems that have plagued Royal Dutch Shell’s foray into the Alaska Arctic.

The Noble Corp., owner of the 47-year-old Discoverer, disclosed Thursday it discovered additional deficiencies in its own inspections, including the possibility of unauthorized collected water discharges outside the allowable period for drilling operations.

Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow, spokesman for the Coast Guard in Alaska, said the deficiencies were discovered during a boarding of the drill ship in November as it was moored in Seward, Alaska, at the conclusion of Shell’s brief inaugural drilling season.

“When these inspectors went on board and conducted their inspection, they noticed several major safety and pollution prevention equipment discrepancies on board the vessel that prevented it from meeting federal and international requirements for safety,” Wadlow told the Los Angeles Times.

The Coast Guard ordered the vessel to remain in port until the most serious of the issues were corrected. [B]On Dec. 19, the detention order was rescinded, and the ship set sail for Seattle to undergo additional work in dry dock, Wadlow said.
Coast Guard officials said they could not discuss the deficiencies in detail, but said they included problems with crew safety protections and also in equipment for preventing pollution.

“They were serious enough that a port state control detention was issued,” Wadlow said. “Basically, they weren’t allowed to leave port until they were able to bring the ship into compliance with U.S. and international regulations.”

Noble officials said in a news release the problems included issues with the ship’s propulsion and safety management systems. They said their own internal review discovered other potential “non-compliance issues,” including “possible unauthorized collected water discharges outside the period of drilling operations.”

Federal regulations allow Shell to operate in the Chukchi Sea from July to September to avoid potential problems with sea ice.

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said one of the issues involves possible damage to a propeller or shaft in transit from the Chukchi Sea to Dutch Harbor, in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, at the conclusion of this year’s drilling operations, though that damage wasn’t noticed during an inspection at Dutch Harbor.

“Propeller vibration developed during the Noble Discoverer’s journey from Dutch Harbor to Seward, and a tug towed the vessel into port as a precaution, and to prevent possible damage,” Smith said in an email.

Noble officials said they have already corrected some of the issues and plan to resolve the remainder during the previously planned shipyard stay.

“This is a matter we take very seriously, and we’re working diligently with the Coast Guard to correct the issues they’ve identified,” company spokesman John Breed said in an interview.

He said the possible unauthorized water discharges were not connected with any drilling operations. “Ships of all types collect water on board, and we’re trying to investigate whether there was a potential for discharge, but it was not related to drilling. This was not a spill,” he said.

Curtis said Shell Alaska is supporting Noble in rectifying the issues found by the Coast Guard.

“While we take these findings seriously, it is important to note they are largely associated with the vessel’s marine systems and not related to this year’s drilling activities,” he said. “Shell and Noble completed a safe 2012 Alaska exploration season.”

The investigation is only the latest involving the Discoverer, a Liberian-flagged, ice-reinforced vessel originally built as a log carrier and converted in 1975 as a self-propelled drill ship.

The vessel was detained in New Zealand in May 2011 for 10 inspection deficiencies, including failure to show evidence of minimum safe staffing, inoperable navigation lights, compass errors, overdue lifeboat drills and various certifications that were expired.

In July, the Discoverer drifted from its moorings near Dutch Harbor, nearly running aground. And in November, Shell officials said there was a small flash fire aboard the vessel, at port in Dutch Harbor on its way back from drilling operations, which was identified as an engine backfire in the rig stack. It was quickly extinguished.

Coast Guard records, reviewed by the Times, show the agency investigated three other “incidents” involving the Discoverer at Dutch Harbor, one in July and two in September. All three involved an “alleged pollution source,” including an apparent discharge of oil Sept. 24. The vessel was given a warning, according to the records.

Smith said many of the current problems already have been rectified.

“Of the 16 items noted, six have been closed and 10 will be completed … in the off-season,” he said. “Many of these items were already planned for the Discoverer’s postseason maintenance schedule. As you would expect, the Noble Discoverer will not deploy to Alaska next season until all of the issues have been corrected.”

d more here:[/QUOTE]

Interesting article but, its funny cause when we crew changed on the 24th the Disco was still in Seward waiting for the tow plan to be approved.

“Additional work in dry dock” … “Damaged propellor” … Sounds like the anchor drag incident in Dutch did result in some damage. I hope the Aviq’s issues are not the result of poor design or workmanship Chouest builds some really nice stuff.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;92109]Things should look better once its daylight. Its still a couple hours until daylight at Kodiak.

I’d like to hear their actual position and course and speed. If someone has access to sat AIS. Also, a report of actual on scene wx (not a forecast).

Is it a good idea to take everyone off KULLUK? What if they part the tow again? It would be a lot more difficult to make tow again without men aboard KULLUK and powered equipment working.[/QUOTE]

The AIS here is showing S’ly at 30 kts which agrees with thesurface analysis at 12Z

I don’t understand why they are saying it’s drifting towards the Trinity Islands? Maybe the low has passed south of their position?


AIS shows Aiviq, Nanuq, and Guardsman on scene, and a westbound log ship nearby. For awhile Aiviq was making 1 knot to the E, but last I looked was making 0.7 knots to the S. It looks like Guardsman is standing off and maybe Naniq is trying to get a line up on Aiviq.

I don’t NANUQ has much HP or even the tow gear to help much. GUARDSMAN should be able to hold her if they can keep the tow from parting. I am assuming that they won’t have alot of surge gear available on their deck to put up and it will be hell rigging it in those conditions.

With the forecast weather, these guys might well be already FUCKED!

Drill ship, crew moving again in Gulf of Alaska

Company spokesman Curtis Smith says repair crews have restarted two of the four engines on a tow vessel and the Kulluk, which has no propulsion system, is holding steady so a second tow line can be attached.

Smith says the second line will will help stabilize the situation.

High winds and waves in the area have prevented evacuation of the Kulluk’s crew. Smith says Shell is working closely with the Coast Guard to assess whether they should attempt to evacuate the crew again.

The ultimate goal is to move the Kulluk about 20 miles to the north to a safe inlet of Kodiak Island.

somebody confirm if I missed it, but that AIVIQ had to slip its wire to the KULLUK and is no longer made up to the tow?

Coast Guard officials said the Aiviq, which had been towing the Kulluk south from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, after the close of the drilling season, experienced not only towline problems but “multiple engine failures,” and the Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley was deployed to try to help.

[QUOTE=c.captain;92135]somebody confirm if I missed it, but that AIVIQ had to slip its wire to the KULLUK and is no longer made up to the tow?[/QUOTE]

“They were towing in some heavy weather, and they lost the tow [line] between the Kulluk and the Aiviq," Mosley said. “They were able to reconnect, and as they started to tow again, the two vessels ended up with some issues on board that directly affected their engines — it sounds like it was a fuel issue. Not necessarily running out of fuel, but a fuel quality issue.”

After working on the problem, he said, “They were able to get one engine back, which is giving them enough power to stay in their position, keep them from drifting anywhere.”

Sounds like the Aiviq has a line to the Kulluk.


They broke their tow wire, and recovered the emergency one from what I gather.

AIS has the Aiviq almost stationary, the Guardsman is running in circles about 5 miles to the north, and the Naniq has dropped off the AIS. They have only had daylight for about 90 minutes now.

My guess is that Aiviq still has Kulluk under tow. It sounds like they hope to get Naniq hooked onto Aviq and then work their way up behind Sitkalidak Island until they can get everything sorted out.

Didn’t early reports indicate that Guardsman had hooked onto Aiviq? I’m kind of curious as to why Guardsman is just running around in circles now. I wonder if they parted off whatever sort of a pennant that Aiviq passed down to them.

Now AIS shows Aiviq and Naniq making 1.1 knots in a NNE’ly direction.

What a FUCKING MESS…can you all believe that THIS is really happening? Bad fuel! WTF?

It is hard to believe that a Chouest vessel is having these issues. From the articles I read it appeared the had a very seasoned crew familiar with the environment. If it is determined to be the usual “human error” I would not want to face the wrath of Gary. If this was the crew of the Disco I would say par for the course based on their track record so far.

My guess is Guardsman and Niniq are just standing by in case assistance is needed. If rshrew’s info is correct then the Aiviq must have been able to maneuver enough to snag an emergency tow line from the Kulluk? If Aiviq is trying to rig a second line and do engine work at the same time in that shitty weather then the crew is getting hammered. Hope they get sorted out soon.


Doubtful it was bad fuel, looks more like a critical component(s) failed, parts were successfully delivered, repairs made.