Highlands & Islands

Norwegian firm to move stricken rig Transocean Winner

Rig in Broad Bay Image copyright Craig Allan

A contract has been signed to transport the oil rig that ran aground on Lewis.

The 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner hit rocks at Dalmore Bay in early August but has now been towed to Broad Bay.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the Norwegian company Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT) would transport it to Turkey.

The firm is expected to float the rig onto the semi-submersible heavy lift vessel OHT Hawk. which is scheduled to arrive in Broad Bay in late September.

Transocean Winner was being towed from Norway to Malta when it broke free in stormy seas on 8 August.

From Malta it was due to be taken to Turkey to be scrapped.

Since the grounding, local politicians have called for the rig to be dismantled in Scotland but it was confirmed earlier this week that it would continue its journey to Turkey.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said: "There will be many technical challenges surrounding the operations, however I am satisfied that this is the safest option and it fully meets the requirements to minimise any future risk to safety or damage to the environment."

Image caption Transocean Winner ran aground in Dalmore Bay

The rig's grounding sparked pollution fears owing to the 280 tonnes of diesel on board.

Investigations found two of its four fuel tanks were damaged in the incident which resulted in the loss of 53,000 litres of fuel, most of which is thought to have evaporated.

The remaining fuel has been safely removed.

Dozens of pieces of debris have also been found at the grounding site at Dalmore, with divers recovering about 40 pieces so far.

MCA said a temporary exclusion zone of 1000m in Broad Bay would remain in place to minimise any risk to safety for other boats as well as divers and vessels helping with the salvage operation.

A temporary exclusion zone of 750m also remains at Dalmore Bay while the salvage of debris continues.

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