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Storm Impedes Salvage of Shell's Grounded Drilling Ship

Jan 2, 2013
(AP)

High seas and strong winds prevented crews from boarding an oil drilling ship to check for any damage after the large vessel went aground off an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Alaska.

A Coast Guard plane and a helicopter flew over the Kulluk on Tuesday, but severe weather did not permit putting marine experts on board the drilling rig, which had grounded on a sand and gravel beach in stormy seas.

Federal on-scene response coordinator Capt. Paul Mehler said the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig is carrying about 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid, and appeared stable.

"There is no sign of a release of any product," Mehler said during a news conference.