Jan 162013
By Platform, on Jan 16, 2013. Originally published here.

On Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when in southern Alaska there’s only a dull half-light for a handful of hours, Shell’s immense drilling rig Kulluk was dragged out to sea from Dutch Harbour, bound for the port of Seattle. This 28,000 tonne machine was being pulled past the Aleutian Islands though worsening storms by the tug Aiviq, which soon developed engine trouble and had to be supported by a sister ship, Alert. But the weather deteriorated and on the 31st December the Alert let go the tow line leaving the rig to be washed onto the shore of Sitkalidak Island, just south of Kodiak Island. It took a week before Shell could announce that the rig had been dragged to the safety of the harbour at Kodiak.

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