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Salvors ready Shell drill ship for tow attempt

In this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard the conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded near a beach 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter)

In this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard the conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded near a beach 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter)

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Spokesmen for Royal Dutch Shell PLC and the Coast Guard say naval architects have pronounced the oil company’s drill ship sound and they’re preparing for an attempt to pull it off rocks near a remote Alaska island.

Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield says the Kulluk (CULL’-uck) will be moved “as soon as we are ready and able.”

The Kulluk ran aground New Year’s Eve after breaking loose from its main tow vessel.

Churchfield says a tow plan has been developed and a salvage team is on board the 266-foot diameter barge but timing will depend on weather, tides and readiness.

The Coast Guard reported wind at 23 mph just before noon Saturday and 2-foot waves. The tow plan calls for 30-mile tow to shelter in Kodiak Island’s Kiliuda (kill-OO’-dah) Bay.

Associated Press

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