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Hovercraft Creates Lifeline to Alaska Drill Site

Article from MarineLink.com


Crowley hovercraft helps Hilcorp establish a new lifeline to Endicott, Alaska drill site

About half a million barrels of oil is extracted each day from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oilfields. One of its drilling sites, Endicott, is located on a spit of land connected by the gravel Prudhoe Bay road system and is normally accessible by truck - until recently, when the road was washed out.

Faced with the dilemma of how to get workers, food and supplies to the work site, Hilcorp, a privately-held exploration and production companies in the U.S., turned to Crowley and its hovercraft, Arctic Hawk.

"With the road cut-off and heavy fog preventing helicopters from flying in and out, Hilcorp diverted the hovercraft Arctic Hawk from its normal duties of supporting NorthStar Island, to shuttle people, groceries and other supplies to Endicott," said Bruce Harland, Crowley vice president. "Hilcorp was already chartering the Arctic Hawk to provide a similar shuttle service to and from their Northstar Island drill site, so this was a natural extension of that service, which we were happy to provide."

Crowley Offshore Services' hovercraft, Arctic Hawk , entered service in Prudhoe Bay in 2004 transferring BP work crews (now Hilcorp work crews) between land and the Northstar Island production facility about six miles offshore in the Beaufort Sea.

A hovercraft is the most practical mode of transport for this service as the route must be traveled over open water in summer and ice during the winter and a mixture of ice and water during freeze-up and break-up, Crowley said.

Measuring 38.8 feet in length with a 15.5 foot beam, Arctic Hawk is considered a passenger vessel by the U.S. Coast Guard and carries a Certificate of Documentation (admeasured at 17 gross and 14 net tons) and Certificate of Inspection issued by Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.

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