After days of delays, Transocean Winner rig set to leave UK

After days of delays, Transocean Winner rig loaded aboard Hawk heavy lifter
Transocean Winner; Image source: MCA

After weeks spent moored in Broad Bay, Scotland, the Transocean Winner semi-submersible drilling rig is finally set to depart the UK waters.

The rig had been stranded near a beach close to Carloway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland after the harsh weather blew it ashore in August. After that, the rig was towed to Broad Bay where it has been waiting on weather to be loaded aboard the semi-submersible heavy lift and transportation vessel, the Hawk.

According to an update by the Maritime and Coastguard agency on Friday, the Transocean Winner rig has been loaded onto the semi-submersible heavy lift ship. The Hawk has deballasted and the rig is now clear of the water, the MCA said. The MCA verification aircraft was on scene on Thursday and no pollution was sighted or reported.

However, late on Thursday some leakage was spotted in the water – this is believed to have been a maximum of 50 liters of hydraulic or gear oil. It is thought to have come from a damaged part of the rig and appropriate counter-pollution measures were taken, the MCA said.

A further check flight by the MCA aircraft Friday over the Hawk and the wider area across Broad Bay has found no further oil.

Vessels with counter pollution equipment will remain on scene until there is no longer any threat of a release from the damaged sponsons.

“Preparations are being made today to commence the sea fastening operations. Assessment of the damage has begun today and other work is starting to prepare the Hawk for her passage to Malta. This could take four or five days to be completed,” the MCA said.

Hugh Shaw, Secretary of State’s Representative Maritime and Salvage Intervention, said: “I’m delighted that after so much work and effort that the operation to load the Transocean Winner has been successful. 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.”