Weather Postpones Transocean Winner Float-On

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

The operation to float the stricken drilling rig Transocean Winner onto a heavy lift ship has been delayed to do weather, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Saturday.

Late last week crews were preparing for the float-on operation by de-ballasting and disconnecting the rig from eight anchor points that have been holding it in plane in Broad Bay at Scotland’s Isle of Lewis. Worse-than-forecasted sea conditions however prevented the loading onto the semi-subermsible heavy lift ship OHT Hawk.

“Sea conditions on Friday were above the agreed safe limits and therefore prevented the operation to load the Transocean Winner onto the Hawk in Broad Bay, Isle of Lewis,” an update from the MCA said Saturday. “The Hawk remained on scene on Saturday but the latest weather forecasts are for the deterioration in wind and sea conditions from Sunday onwards and the Transocean Winner will be put back onto her eight anchors temporarily.”

Right now authorities have not said when the next favorable weather window may prevent itself. 

“Hugh Shaw, Secretary of State‚Äôs Representative Maritime Salvage and Intervention with Transocean and Smit Salvage continue to look at options, including alternative locations offering shelter from prevailing conditions, dependant on appropriate weather and sea conditions for a safe operation,” the MCA said over the weekend.

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 Broad Bay. Transocean eventually contracted the OHT Hawk to load the vessel and deliver it to Turkey, where the plan is still to demolish the rig.