4 Jan 2013

Drilling rig still stranded near Alaskan island

6:16 am on 4 January 2013

An oil drilling rig owned by Shell Oil remains stranded in the waters near an Alaskan island.

Rough seas have prevented government and oil company officials from boarding and salvaging the rig.

Crews are waiting for a break in the weather so they can board and evaluate the Kulluk, a drilling rig full of 567,000 litres of fuel, a Radio New Zealand correspondent reports.

Officials say the vessel appears stable and is not leaking fuel or other materials into the ocean.

All 18 of the rig's crew were evacuated when it broke free from its tugboat lines on 31 December.

Huge waves and strong winds have kept crews from the Coastguard from reaching the Kulluk.

The rig was being towed to Seattle for maintenance after a failed drilling mission in the Arctic waters.