A Norwegian semi-submersible heavy lift vessel has been contracted to transport the stricken drilling rig Transocean Winner from Scotland’s Isle of Lewis to Turkey where it will be demolished, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed this week.
According to the MCA a contract for the dry transport of the rig has been signed between the rig owner Transocean and the Norwegian company Offshore Heavy Transport. The rig will be floated onto the semi-submersible heavy lift vessel OHT HAWK which is scheduled to arrive in Broad Bay in late September.
“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,” said Hugh Shaw, Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) for Maritime Salvage and Intervention.
The Transocean Winner ran aground on the Isle of Lewis August 8 after breaking free during a tow from Norway to Malta in heavy weather. The rig 30-year-old rig had just completed a contract in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea and was on a one-way voyage to a Turkish shipbreaker when the incident occurred. The rig was refloated about two weeks later and has been moored in Lewis’ Broad Bay ever since.
Preparations for the float-on operation are now underway, with the rig remaining in stable condition and connected to 8 anchors.
A temporary exclusion zone of 1000 meters has been established in Broad Bay and will remain in place to minimize any risk to safety for other vessels or crafts in the area. A temporary exclusion zone of 750 meters also remains in place in Dalmore Bay, where grounding occurred.
The MCA says that although diving operations remain temporarily suspended due to prevailing weather conditions, it is expected that divers will continue to locate and remove debris offshore near where the rig grounded and was later refloated.
The OHT HAWK is a Norwegian-flagged heavy lift semi-submersible vessel designed float on/off, skid on/ off, roll on/off and lift on/off operations.