Transocean Winner Ready for Its Lift

Photo credit: MCA
Photo credit: MCA

Update (Sept. 30): Final preparations for moving the Transocean Winner rig onto the OHT Hawk are continuing Friday.

The anchors have now been disconnected and the rig is being held on four tugs about half a mile from the Hawk.

The Hawk has almost completed ballasting and is making final preparations to receive the rig.

Weather conditions are improving. The Coast Guard said it is likely that the rig will be floated over the Hawk later Friday morning or early afternoon. The Transocean Winner will be loaded onto the Hawk and taken out of the water within the next 24 hours.

Sept. 29: Work has begun to raise the anchors of the stricken Transocean Winner rig in Broad Bay, Scotland in preparation for its move onto a heavy lift vessel.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Thursday that crews began raising the rig’s four main anchors this morning. Four secondary anchors will also be removed leaving the rig attached to tugs. The operation is expected to take about 12 for both the main and secondary anchors.

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 was refloated about two weeks later and has been moored in Lewis’ Broad Bay ever since. Earlier this month Transocean, owner of the rig, contracted the Offshore Heavy Transport’s semi-submersible heavy lift vessel OHT Hawk to to complete the rig’s journey to Turkey where it will be demolished.

Prior to running aground, the 30-year-old rig Transocean Winner had just completed a contract in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea and was headed for the breakers when the incident occurred.

The OHT HAWK is a lift semi-submersible vessel designed float on/off operations.

As the rig’s anchors are lifted, the Hawk will begin to ballast down (submerge) as it prepares to receive the rig. The rig will then be towed across to the Hawk using guide points before deballasting – allowing the vessel to come up slowly under the Transocean Winner.

The MCA said the operation is expected to begin daylight Friday to monitor for any potential pollution but could continue on Saturday morning if necessary.

A temporary exclusion zone of 1000m will be put in place during the ballasting process until such time the rig is secured.

Pollution counter measures are now in place and an MCA surveillance aircraft will fly over the area to moitor for any pollution.

“Our intention all the way along has been to get this operation under way without endangering life or the environment around,” Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative For Maritime Salvage and Intervention. “All the preparation work has been done in anticipation of this moment so that we could be ready when the time comes as it now has.”