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DATE: January 2, 2013 2:57:00 AM AKST

For more information contact:
Unified Command Joint Information Center at (907) 433-3417
Update #16: Sen. Murkowski briefed on Kulluk Tow Incident

The Unified Command met with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski Jan. 1, 2013, to discuss the priorities and challenges associated with the Kulluk Tow Incident response.

The Unified Command stressed to Sen. Murkowski that all were aligned on objectives with safety of its personnel and protecting the environment being the top priority. The senator was briefed on the full-response effort including the challenges endured by responders to stabilize the Kulluk in extreme weather conditions.

"Senator Murkowski shares the Coast Guard's desire to protect the pristine Alaska environment and response personnel," said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo. "Everyone involved in the response effort has the same objective: to safely recover the Kulluk without injuries or impact to the environment. So far, response personnel have demonstrated great resourcefulness and adaptability to the weather and other challenges in a very difficult operation."

“The senator’s visit to the command post is encouraging to response personnel and our efforts to resolve this incident,” said Steve Russell, state on-scene coordinator.  “With the Kulluk grounding within state waters, we will closely monitor the recovery of the rig with the goal of little to no environmental impact.”

Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander, U.S. Coast Guard 17th District and Coast Guard 17th District Incident Management Team commander; Capt. Paul Mehler, Federal On-Scene Coordinator; and Sean Churchfield, Shell Incident Commander, met with the senator today.

The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Noble Drilling Contractor and Shell. The Unified Command is working closely with other federal, state, local and tribal partners.

Media inquiries should be directed to the Joint Information Center at 907-433-3417.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, 17th Coast Guard District Commander; Capt. Paul Mehler, Federal On Scene Coordinator for the Kulluk Tow Incident; and Sean Churchfield, Shell Incident Commander, talk with Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator for the State of Alaska, about current operations and incident command functions at the Kulluk Tow Incident Command Post. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer First Class Matthew Schofield. Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, 17th Coast Guard District Commander; Capt. Paul Mehler, Federal On Scene Coordinator for the Kulluk Tow Incident; and Sean Churchfield, Shell Incident Commander, talk with Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator for the State of Alaska, about current operations and incident command functions at the Kulluk Tow Incident Command Post. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer First Class Matthew Schofield.

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