Drilling ship runs ashore during rough conditions near Kodiak, Alaska

POSTED: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 11:04am

A Shell mobile drilling unit is stable after running aground New Year's Eve near Kodiak, Alaska following failed attempts to tow the vessel in a fierce storm, responders said during a Tuesday press conference.

"Following the U.S. Coast Guard reconnaissance flight earlier today, the Kulluk is upright and rocking with a slow, but stable motion," said Shell Alaska Operations Manager Sean Churchfield.

Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III, the incident commander for the Kulluk's grounding, said it happened at about 9 p.m. Monday on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island in Ocean Bay.

Mehler said the Kulluk's position, maintained despite conditions he described as including 70-knot winds and 50-foot seas, will hopefully give salvage crews a chance to board the unit.

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