|Noble Discoverer aboard Xiang Yun Kao - image by Ronn Hemstock for Seward City News|
I. On Sunday, in Resurrection Bay, the hulkish, substandard, underpowered Shell-contracted drill rig, Noble Discoverer, was towed out into the bay, and brought over the partially submerged Chinese heavy lift vessel, Xiang Yun Kou. Currently, it is being securely fastened in place, before being "dry towed" to a Korean shipyard for either major renovations or scrapping.
Early this morning, the heavily damaged conical drill rig, Kulluk, was towed by three tugs into Unalaska Island's Broad Bay, where it will await arrival of the sister ship of the Noble Discoverer's deliverer, the Xiang Rui Kou. Here is the Xiang Rui Kao:
Shell announced the Kulluk's arrival about two hours after Progressive Alaska first noted the arrival at Unalaska Island of the Kulluk's towing tugs:
Shell’s damaged Kulluk drill rig has arrived in Unalaska, a week after leaving Kodiak. The rig will towed to its specialized dock in Captain’s Bay later this afternoon.
Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith says the heavy-lift vessel that will be picking up the rig is on its way as well. The Xiang Rui Kou left China on Sunday, according to its automated tracking system. Once the heavy-lift vessel arrives, it will empty its ballast tanks, sink below the Kulluk and lift the drill rig onto its deck.
The rig will then head to dry dock in Asia for repairs. Smith says as of today, no shipyard has selected.II. DOI Shell Arctic 60-Day Review and Senate Sally Jewell Confirmation Process to Start:
The Department of Interior is soon scheduled to release its 60-day review of Shell's Arctic program, which has to continue to meet DOI approval to proceed. Even though Shell has announced it is not going to drill in 2013, the Interior Department informed me late last month that the oil giant's decision will have no impact on the report, or its date of issuance, which could be as early as this Friday.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will be looking at outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's successor this Thursday:
SD-366 Senate Dirksen Building 10:00 AM
The purpose of this hearing is to consider the nomination of Sally Jewell to be the Secretary of the Interior.
The hearing will be webcast live on the Committee's website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing is complete.
Witness testimony will be available on the website at the start of the hearing. The overflow room is SD-608.