Tugs towing Shell drill vessel to Dutch Harbor

Shell's Kulluk drill rig

Shell Oil’s Kulluk drill rig in Dutch Harbor last summer. Photo courtesy Shell Oil.

A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drilling barge that ran aground New Year’s Eve is on the move from near Kodiak Island in Alaska to Dutch Harbor.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith says in an email to The Associated Press that the Kulluk left the bay Tuesday afternoon. Three tugs are towing the barge in a journey expected to take about 10 days.

The Kulluk drilled in the Beaufort Sea last year and was being towed to Seattle when it broke loose from its towing vessel. The round drilling barge ran aground New Year’s Eve.

It was refloated and towed to the protected bay, but the Coast Guard had ordered it to remain anchored until its condition was assessed. The Coast Guard lifted its restriction last week.

Smith says once the Kulluk reaches Dutch Harbor it will be placed aboard a larger vessel for a “dry tow” to shipyard in Asia.