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Kulluk Tow Incident

Unified Command

Whenever there is an incident involving more than one agency with jurisdiction, a joint command arrangement, called the Unified Command is implemented. This webpage provides a compilation of general information, reports, press releases, maps and relevant links meant to aid members of the Unified Command and inform the public during a response. Not all information provided here has been jointly approved or endorsed by every member of the Unified Command.

Between the north end of Ocean Bay and Partition Cove on Sitkalidak Island
8:48 p.m. on December 31, 2012
Spill Id
Product/ Quantity
No oil or hazardous substance release to the environment
The towline between the M/V Aiviq and the Conical Drilling Unit (CDU) Kulluk parted on December 27, 2012 due to mechanical failure of the tow shackle. The tow was subsequently regained and lost several more times over several days and involving several other tow vessels. The CDU Kulluk grounded. After several days of extensive planning and weather delays, the CDU Kulluk was refloated at 10:10 p.m. on January 6, 2013 and relocated to a place of refuge (Kiliuda Bay) for additional salvage and damage assessment.

ADEC Situation Reports

Unified Command Press Releases

Incident Update

January 9, 2013

  • The CDU Kulluk remains safely anchored in Kiliuda Bay at its assessment position. In addition to being anchored, the CDU Kulluk is also tethered to the M/V Lauren Foss and the M/V Corbin Foss. There continues to be no sign of leakage in the vicinity of the CDU Kulluk.
  • Support vessels will remain with the CDU Kulluk during the structural assessment phase. Other resources that were brought on board specifically for the salvage operation are in the process of being demobilized. The M/V Alert and the M/V Perseverance were demobilized on January 8.
  • The Dive Support Vessel Sand Island arrived in Kiliuda Bay on January 8 to support Remote-Operated Vehicle (ROV) activities, and additional dive activities if needed for structural assessment.
  • ROV survey activities will begin on January 9 with a survey of the anchor and chain. The ROV survey will switch to the CDU Kulluk in preparation for survey activities of the hull for damage once additional personnel (from Det Norske Veritas, marine chemist, USCG inspector) arrive.
  • The Command Center shifted from the Downtown Marriot to the Frontier Building over the evening of January 8.
  • Plans for lifeboat and debris removal operations are being advanced. Preliminary results depict that some diesel fuel was released from at least two of the 4 lifeboats. The quantity of fuel on board these vessels was relatively small, and the environmental impact, if any, will be determined during site visits conducted to remove the vessels.
Incident Location

Contact Information

Interactive Map-Based Resource Information

This interactive GIS-based map shows the Kulluk grounding location and environmentally sensitive areas identified by state and federal agencies as a part of their spill response planning efforts and included in documents such as the Kodiak Island Subarea Plan.

The Kulluk anchored in Kiliuda Bay.


Images may be downloaded for free and used in publications provided credit is given to the source.

January 1, 2013 - USCG Overflight

January 2, 2013 - Overflight

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