Diesel oil leaks from grounded rig’s fuel tanks

Image by John Gray/Dell-licious-Ness

Image by John Gray/Dell-licious-Ness

Two fuel tanks on the grounded semi-submersible rig Transocean Winner have been breached and it remains unclear how much oil has leaked into the environment. 

To remind, the Transocean Winner drilling rig ran aground near a beach in the Isle of Lewis in the UK after having been struck by severe storms early this week. Following the incident, the coast guard warned people not to attempt to visit the area.

A damage assessment team from Smit Salvage and Transocean has been on board the oil rig to carry out a series of initial inspections.

According to a statement by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on Wednesday, the damage assessment team spent three and a half hours checking the condition of the Transocean Winner looking at its structural integrity.

The rig remains in the original position and was reported to be carrying 280 metric tons of diesel oil on board in total split between a number of separate tanks. During the inspection, the MCA said that 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.

“Weather conditions have made it impossible for the team to continue the assessment today,” the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said on Wednesday.

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

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

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