The stricken drilling rig Transocean Winner has been loaded onto a semi-submersible heavy lift ship nearly two months after the rig ran aground on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has confirmed that the rig was safely floated onto the submerged OHT Hawk. The Hawk has since deballasted and the rig is now clear of the water.
An MCA aircraft was on scene throughout the day Thursday and no pollution was sighted or reported, however some leakage was spotted in the water late Thursday. It is believed that the leak was a maximum of 50 liters of hydraulic or gear oil thought to have come from a damaged part of the rig. Appropriate counter-pollution measures were taken, the MCA said.
An overflight on Friday over the Hawk and the wider area across Broad Bay has found no further oil, the MCA said. Vessels with counter pollution equipment will remain on scene until there is no longer any threat of a release from the damaged sponsons, it added.
Preparations are being made now to commence the sea fastening operations. Assessment of the damage has also begun and other work is starting to prepare the Hawk for her passage to Malta, which could take four or five days, the MCA said.
“I’m delighted that after so much work and effort that the operation to load the Transocean Winner has been successful,” commented Hugh Shaw, Secretary of State’s Representative Maritime and Salvage Intervention. “We’re so grateful to the community in the area for being so supportive from the time the rig first grounded in August right through this long process.”
The Transocean Winner grounded on the Isle of Lewis on August 8 after breaking from a tow during heavy weather. The rig spent about two weeks aground before it was refloated and towed to the island’s Broad Bay, where it has remained moored ever since.
The ship’s final destination remains to be Turkey where it will be demolished as was originally planned even prior to the grounding.