Grounded Shell oil-drilling ship refloated

Updated 08 January 2013
0

Grounded Shell oil-drilling ship refloated

ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A Shell oil-drilling ship that ran aground near a remote Alaska island has been refloated, officials said early yesterday.
Royal Dutch Shell’s Kulluk was floated from the rocks late Sunday night and teams were assessing its condition, the Unified Command said.
Once they’re satisfied that the vessel is seaworthy, it will be towed 30 miles (50 kilometers) to shelter in Kodiak Island’s Kiliuda Bay.
The oil drilling vessel, which has no engines of its own, was being towed for maintenance when it ran aground during a powerful storm on New Year’s Eve.
Officials said that so far there’s no sign the hull of the Kulluk has been breached or that oil has spilled from the vessel. It is carrying more than 140,000 gallons (529,940 liters) of diesel and about 12,000 gallons (45,425 liters) of lube oil and hydraulic fluid.
The main tow line was attached from a towing vessel earlier in the day in preparation for the refloating when ocean conditions were favorable. The Unified Command said three additional tugs are on standby along with the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley and two oil spill response vessels.
“Following this initial step forward, we will continue to remain cautious while we assess the Kulluk’s condition,” said Martin Padilla, commander of the refloating effort. “We will not move forward to the next phase until we are confident that we can safely transport the vessel.”
More than 730 people are involved in the response and recovery operation, the release said.
The Kulluk is a circular barge 266 feet (80 meters) in diameter with a funnel-shaped, reinforced steel hull that allows it to operate in ice. One of two Shell ships that drilled last year in the Arctic Ocean, it has a 160-foot (49-meter) derrick rising from its center and no propulsion system of its own.
The tow attempt is being made by the same vessel that lost the Kulluk last month while attempting to move it to Seattle. A line between the 360-foot (110-meter) anchor handler, the Aiviq, and the Kulluk broke Dec. 27. Four re-attached lines between the Aiviq or other vessels also broke in stormy weather and went aground.
Shell has reported superficial damage above the deck and seawater within that entered through open hatches. Water has knocked out regular and emergency generators, but portable generators were put on board late last week.


Suspected Brussels Jewish museum killer to stand trial: lawyer

Updated 9 min 5 sec ago
0

Suspected Brussels Jewish museum killer to stand trial: lawyer

  • Mehdi Nemmouche is accused of killing four people on May 24, 2014
  • Nemmouche was arrested in the southern French port city of Marseille when getting off a bus from Brussels

BRUSSELS: Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche was ordered Thursday to stand trial in Brussels for allegedly killing four people at the Jewish museum four years ago in a jihadist attack, his lawyer said.
Judges decided there was enough evidence to try Nemmouche and alleged accomplice Nacer Bendrer, who is also French, in a Brussels court for the attack in 2014, lawyer Henri Laquay told AFP.
He did not name a date but the trial is expected to begin later this year or early next year.
But the judges decided there was not enough evidence to put Mounir Attalah, a third Frenchman linked to the attack, on trial.
On May 24, 2014 a gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire in the entrance hall of the museum in the center of the Belgian capital, killing two Israeli tourists, a French volunteer and a Belgian museum receptionist.
Six days later Nemmouche was arrested in the southern French port city of Marseille when getting off a bus from Brussels.
Nemmouche had returned from Syria where he had been fighting with Islamist extremists.