Two weeks from yesterday, the Kulluk, a drilling rig managed by Noble Drilling and owned by Shell, broke free of its tow lines as tug boats struggled in inclement weather to move it away from the Alaskan shore.
On Dec. 31, it ran aground within an important bird area on Kodiak Island. A unified command comprised of representatives of Shell, Noble, the Coast Guard, the state of Alaska, and local representatives spent the next week and half determining whether the rig was safe to move and, ultimately, moving it to a nearby harbor. Some 700 people were involved in the effort by the time it had been safely docked.
How many of that 700 were from the Coast Guard? "That's a very good question," Mosley told me. He noted that "the command center at Coast Guard Center Anchorage was very much involved in the unified command," proving the point by listing just the people who came to mind:
Captain Mehler, the federal on-scene coordinator, all the way down to your storekeepers and yeomen and people like myself, public affairs specialists, who were all swept up and involved in this in some way. The people who provided support on Base Kodiak and Air Station Kodiak, moving gear around and making things happen on the base. Maintenance crews with the helicopters, the C-130s.
You've got the crews that were involved with the Alex Haley. We had stationed the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory and the Coast Guard Cutter Spar, both of which are 225-foot buoy tenders that were activated and would have come out to the scene as needed.