Transocean Winner rig refloated off Lewis

Article by Staff Writer

THE grounded drilling rig Transocean Winner has been successfully refloated off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in Northwest Scotland, UK.

The rig ran aground on the beach at Dalmore on 8 August. It had been under tow from Norway to Malta, where it is due to be scrapped, but broke free of its tow line in heavy weather. The tug boat was unable to reconnect due to the weather conditions, and the 17,580 t rig has been stranded on the beach ever since. Two of its four fuel tanks were damaged in the stranding, and around 53,000 l of fuel is thought to have been lost; however, this would have evaporated away.

Yesterday, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) finalised plans to refloat the Transocean Winner at last night’s high tide. On 20 August, MCA had asked Transocean, the rig’s owners, to take advantage of good weather to remove approximately 200 t of hydrocarbons thought to be on the rig, partly for safety and partly to increase the rig’s buoyancy. The removal was carried out on 21 August by the supply vessel Olympic Orion. The salvage company Smit attached two tugs to the rig, and at 22:00 local time on 22 August, MCA announced that the refloat had been successful.

The rig is currently being stabilised, but will shortly begin its journey to Broad Bay, around 90 km away on the east coast of Lewis, where MCA says it will remain until it is in a fit condition to be transported or towed to a repair facility. A 1,000 m exclusion zone remains in place around the rig.

Article by Staff Writer

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