Highlands & Islands

Broken pieces of rig found at Dalmore on Lewis

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Media captionBroken parts from the rig have been found on Dalmore beach

Debris from the grounding of the drilling rig Transocean Winner has been found at Dalmore beach on Lewis.

Between 30 and 40 pieces, mostly metal parts, have been found to have broken off the structure, which was blown on to rocks in bad weather on 8 August.

The debris ranges from laptop size to a 1.5 tonne thruster.

The rig has since been towed to a new temporary anchorage off Lewis, but an exclusion zone remains in place at Dalmore, near Carloway.

Divers have been recovering the broken parts by hand.

However, a crane is to be used to recover the thruster, which detached from a leg of Transocean Winner during the grounding.

Other debris could be washed ashore during autumn and winter storms.

Image copyright Craig Allan
Image caption The drilling rig has been towed to a temporary anchorage off Lewis
Image copyright Craig Allan
Image caption Inspections of the rig are taking place in Broad Bay

The Transocean Winner was being towed from Norway to Malta from where it was to be moved to a yard in Turkey to be broken up.

A tow line between the rig and a tug broke during stormy weather and the structure ran aground.

All broken pieces which have been recovered so far have been stored temporarily at Carloway.

Deputy Secretary of State's Representative Maritime Salvage and Intervention, Colin Mulvana, said: "The divers are working very hard to make sure that they are picking up all the bits found on site.

"But there may well be previously undetected debris that may appear following bad weather."

Mr Mulvana said the rig's owners, Transocean, would arrange future surveys of the area for debris.

Image caption Storms may wash more debris on the beach where the rig ran aground

He added: "Our advice remains the same as it has from the start - please stay off the beach while the diving operation continues and while the temporary exclusion zone (TEZ) is still in place.

"We know that surfers and walkers, including those with dogs, use Dalmore Bay and will continue to use it after the diving operation is over and the TEZ has been lifted.

"We'd just like them to be aware of the possibility of debris washing up over the next few months. Just keep an eye out, particularly after stormy weather for anything unusual."

Anyone finding parts from the rig should contact the coastguard, he said.

Transocean Winner has been secured to eight anchors in Broad Bay on the east side of Lewis.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said there was no sign of pollution and monitoring continued. Divers and remotely operated vehicles have been checking the structure for damage.

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