Final preparations were being made Tuesday afternoon to put a small team of salvage experts on board the grounded semi-submersible Transocean Winner off Scotland’s Isle of Lewis after the rig blew ashore Monday morning.
The team is expected to conduct an initial assessment of the rig as part of the ongoing operation to remove it.
The 33-year-old Transocean Winner was under tow by the 215 bollard pull tug Alp Forward from Norway to Malta when they encountered severe weather west of the Isle Of Lewis Sunday afternoon. At about 4:20 a.m. Monday the master of the Alp Forward reported that the tow line had parted, leading to the rig running aground west side of the Isle of Lewis near Carloway.
There was nobody on board the rig at the time and no injuries have been reported. Of concern however is the 280 metric tons of diesel reported to be aboard the rig, although as of Monday the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency said the pollution risk was low.
SMIT Salvage has been mobilized to deal with the incident.
“This initial [reconnaissance] will be checking a number of things including fuel tanks,” said Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, Hugh Shaw, on Tuesday. “Weather permitting, it’s then intended to put a second larger group of salvors on tomorrow to carry out a more detailed inspection.”
According to the HM Coastguard, three vessels including the ETV Herakles remain on scene. The ALP Forward also remains on scene.
A temporary exclusion zone of 300 meters has been implemented around the grounded rig.
Transocean Winner is one of 10 midwater floaters in Transocean’s fleet. The rig had just wrapped up a contract for Marathon Oil in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea in July and in all likelihood was headed for recycling when the incident occurred.