Coast Guard schedules hearing for Kulluk grounding

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Coast Guard formal marine casualty investigation hearing is scheduled for May 20 to investigate the contributing causes that led to the conical drilling unit Kulluk grounding on Sitkalidak Island on Dec. 3.

The hearing will be held at noon, at the Anchorage Loussac Library, Assembly Hall Chambers. The Coast Guard conducts investigations following marine casualties to determine the causal and contributing factors that led to the incident.

Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander, Coast Guard 17th District, ordered the formal marine casualty investigation to examine the facts, circumstances, and causal factors involved in the Kulluk grounding.

Cmdr. Joshua McTaggart from the Coast Guard Investigations National Center of Expertise is conducting the investigation with the assistance of technical advisors from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board are also participating in the investigation.

Witnesses from the Coast Guard, Shell, Noble, and other organizations will be called to testify about the facts and circumstances surrounding the grounding of the Kulluk.

Once the investigation is completed, the investigating officer will submit a written report of investigation, which will include findings of facts, conclusions, and recommendations. Ostebo will use the findings and recommendations within the report to determine whether additional measures are required to prevent such marine casualties and what if any actions need to be taken to promote safety of life and property at sea.

For more information about the Kulluk grounding and response, visit


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