Transocean drilling rig runs aground off the Western Isles

Offshore staff

LONDON – The Transocean Winner semisubmersible drilling rig has run aground after being blown ashore on the Western Isles offshore Scotland, according to reports from BBC News.

On Monday, the drilling rig was under tow west of Lewis when it was hit by severe storms. It became detached from the tug boat Alp Forward, before running aground at the beach of Dalmore in the Carloway area.

Stornoway Coastguard said there were no personnel on board the rig and there was no risk to life. However, coastguard personnel have blocked access to the beach for health and safety reasons.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has begun an investigation into the incident. The Transocean Winner was being towed from Norway to Malta. The BBC reports that from Malta the rig was to be taken to a yard in Turkey to be scrapped.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it was monitoring for any pollution from the rig. The agency said the Transocean Winner has 280 metric tons of diesel on board.

According to the BBC, a small team of salvage experts has been lowered onto the stranded rig.

A more detailed investigation is planned for Wednesday but the UK government has said the work may take some time.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, said those involved in the salvage operation were moving as quickly as possible, but added that the work could take some time.

Shaw, who is overseeing the salvage work, was quoted as saying: “This initial recce [reconnaissance] will be checking a number of things including fuel tanks.

“Weather permitting, it’s then intended to put a second larger group of salvors [salvage workers] on tomorrow to carry out a more detailed inspection.”

Three vessels including the emergency towing vessel Herakles are the scene of the grounding. Union Bear, a multi-purpose offshore vessel, has also arrived at Stornoway Harbour from Aberdeen to assist in the salvage operation.

Salvage company Smit has been mobilized to deal with the incident, the MCA added.


Transocean Winner
The Transocean Winner has run aground off the Western Isles offshore Scotland. (Photo courtesy BBC News)

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