Salvors Prepare Second Float-On Attempt for Transocean Winner

Mike Schuler
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October 5, 2016

The Transocean Winner anchored in Broad Bay, Isle of Lewis. Photo credit: MCA

A second attempt to move the stricken Transocean Winner onto a semi-submersible heavy lift ship is likely to take place on Thursday, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Wednesday.

Approval has been given by Hugh Shaw, Secretary of State’s Representative Maritime and Salvage Intervention, for Transocean to start preparing for the attempt given a favorable weather window over the next few days for Scotland’s Isle of Lewis. 

Work to disconnect the anchors holding the rig in place was expected to commence Wednesday.  By first light tomorrow, the rig should be in position to move towards the Hawk, the MCA said.

The first float-on attempt was schedule for last week but was postponed due to weather. If this next operation is unsuccessful, the MCA says another heavy lift vessel will have to be brought in as the Hawk is due to come off contract on Monday.

“Potential weather windows for the operation are beginning to reduce very rapidly now. Although we are considering alternative loading locations, the success of any loading wherever it takes place is diminishing with the approach of winter,” said Shaw. 

A second heavy lift vessel has been identified but the work to move the rig would have to be suspended pending its arrival at the Isle of Lewis in mid-late October, according to the MCA. 

“With this in mind, I have asked Transocean to look at other contingencies including a plan for maintaining the rig in Broad Bay over the winter if it becomes necessary. We know that the rig can be safely secured there if needed,” said Shaw.

“At the moment though I remain hopeful that this weather window will be sufficient for the operation to take place,” Shaw added.

The 17,000 ton Transocean Winner ran aground on the Isle of Lewis on August 8 after breaking free from a tow to Turkey where it was due to be scrapped. About two weeks later the rig was refloated and moved to Lewis’ Broad Bay, where the rig is currently located.

Once loaded, the rig will be transported to a yard in Turkey where it will be demolished.

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