Shell drill ship runs aground on Sitkalidak Island

January 2, 2013 • Business

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the mobile drilling unit Kulluk is towed by the tugs Aiviq and Nanuq in 29 mph winds and 20-foot seas 116 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. The crews remain stationed with the drill rig Kulluk Sunday 20 miles from Alaska’s Kodiak Island as they wait in rough seas for another tug boat to arrive. The Coast Guard says the goal is to tow the Kulluk to a safe harbor and determine the next step. (AP Photo/U.S Coast Guard, Chris Usher)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s foray into Arctic offshore drilling suffered a serious setback Monday night when one of its two Alaska drilling rigs ran aground in shallow water off Sitkalidak Island.

Officials at a unified command center, made up of the Coast Guard, Shell, state responders and others, said the Kulluk grounded on rocks off the southeast side of the island.

The Kulluk had been under tow by a 360-foot anchor handler, the Aiviq, and a tugboat, the Alert. The vessels were moving north in the Gulf of Alaska along Kodiak Island, trying to escape the worst of a North Pacific storm that included winds near 70 mph and swells to 35 feet.

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