Working With Setnetters for Safe Operations in Cook Inlet
The Alaska LNG Project is safely maneuvering in the waters of Cook Inlet near Nikiski, thanks to the support of area setnetters. After the 2015 commercial salmon fishing season ended, the Alaska LNG Project began examining the sea bed and the rocks under it in the nearshore waters of Cook Inlet adjacent to Nikiski using the jack-up barge called Skate lll.
Although fishing setnets were packed up for the season, block weights which remained on the seabed posed a safety hazard for the Skate lll if one of its jack-up legs were placed on top of the block weights. There was also a risk that the Skate lll could push the block weights farther into the seabed.
Working collaboratively with area setnetters, a solution was devised. Alaska LNG Project purchased 77 bright orange buoys, and provided them to the setnetters to attach to the weighted block lines. This allowed the Skate lll barge master to safely navigate to avoid the block weights.
The Alaska LNG Project also obtained GPS coordinates of the known block weights and loaded them into the Skate lll’s onboard computer to provide additional information to avoid the seabed hazards.
The Skate lll journeyed to approximately 30 different locations in the marine waters near Nikiski, gathering data on in situ soils to provide information to the engineering teams responsible for designing proposed Alaska LNG Project marine facilities. “We greatly appreciated the tremendous support of the setnetter community,” said Josselyn O’Connor, community stakeholder advisor for the Alaska LNG Project. “Not only were they willing to help us mark the location of their gear, but they also provided invaluable local knowledge on other site conditions to ensure the geotechnical drilling program went smoothly.”