Transocean Winner Tanks Breached, Weather Causes Problems for Salvors

transocean winner aground
Transocean Winner aground on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Photo: Murdanie Macleod

A damage assessment of the grounded Transocean drilling rig in Scotland showed that two of the rigs’ fuel tanks have been breached, but it is unclear just how much oil has been released into the environment.

The assessment was carried out by a team from SMIT Salvage and Transocean who were able to board Transocean Winner Tuesday afternoon. Once aboard they spent three and a half hours checking the condition of the rig and looking at its structural integrity.

The Transocean Winner has remained in the same position since grounding early Monday morning off the Isle of Lewis, Scotland after breaking free during a tow.

The update from the HM Coastguard on Wednesday said the rig was reported to be carrying 280 metric tonnes of diesel oil on board split between a number of separate tanks. During the inspection the salvors discovered that two of the fuel tanks appear to have been breached, however it is unclear at this time how much oil from those tanks has been released to the environment.

Unfortunately, weather conditions have made it impossible for the team to continue the assessment today.

Additional salvors and technical experts from Transocean and also equipment continues to arrive to the incident area to support the operation. Meanwhile a temporary exclusion zone of 300 meters to keep boats away remains in force.

The tug Union Bear remains in the vicinity along with the ETV Herakles to support the operation.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s representative for maritime and salvage, continues to monitor the operations and is maintaining contact with all the key stakeholders, including Transocean, Smit Salvage, the Scottish Environment Group and Western Isles Council.

The Transocean Winner was under tow by the tug ALP Forward from Norway to Malta when the incident occurred. The 30-year-old rig had just completed a contract with Marathon Oil in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.