Shell Lists Grounded Rig Damage at Anchorage Press Conference

Breached Watertight Doors Part of Problem Officials Say.

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by Natalie Travis

ANCHORAGE--  Incident Commander and Operations Manager for Shell Alaska Sean Churchfield, described damage sustained by the Kulluk--a drilling operation vessel grounded south of Kodiak Island-- in a press conference Thursday (1/3/13).

Along with wave damage to the top sides of the ship and emergency and service generators, Churchfield says a number of watertight doors were breached, causing water damage inside. Some of those open hatches have since been secured. Despite losses, officials confirmed the Kulluk remains upright and stable, with no evidence of sheen in the area.

 "In the over flight we did not observe any environmental impact from this incident," said State On-scene Coordinator Steven Russell. "Observations today confirm that those conditions remain unchanged."

Shell says there is still a lot of work to do to bring a safe ending to the Kulluk tow incident--but is pleased with the progress to date. However, just when the end of the ordeal may be, remains to be seen.

 "It is difficult to put a time line on how long this will take," said Federal On-scene Coordinator Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III. "Understand as recovery develops, it may be necessary to alter plans and to address new issues and concerns."

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