Residents urged to stay clear of grounded offshore rig

Images by John Gray/Dell-licious-Ness
Following Monday’s grounding of a giant semi-submersible drilling rig near a beach in the Isle of Lewis in the UK, the coast guard has warned people not to attempt to visit the area.

“Coastguard Rescue Teams and police officers are enforcing restricted access to the site to make sure that specialist equipment can easily get to the scene,” the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said in a statement on Monday.

The rig was under tow, reportedly on its way to Malta, when strong winds broke the tow line and blew the rig aground in Scotland.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s counter pollution branch and the SOSREP have both been monitoring the situation. There is 280mt of diesel on board and this situation is being monitored but it’s believed the pollution risk is low, the MCA said.

Mark Rodaway UK Coastguard Commander said: “We understand that this incident is of interest to people living in the area, but we’re really asking them to stay away to ensure easy access for emergency services and salvors. Also, the last thing we want is for people to be injured or worse trying to get a closer look on remote cliff paths.”

The 1983-built Transocean Winner had been on a contract with Det norske oljeselskap, drilling on the Norwegian continental shelf. The contract expired in July 2016, and according to unconfirmed reports, the rig is expected to be scrapped.

UPDATE: Tuesday, August 9, 3.59 p.m. CET

The MCA said on Tuesday that final preparations were being made to put a small team of salvors on board the grounded semi-submersible oil rig off the Isle of Lewis this afternoon.

The group is conducting an initial assessment of the rig as part of the ongoing operation to remove it, the MCA added.

Hugh Shaw, who as Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention is overseeing the operation, said: “This initial recce will be checking a number of things including fuel tanks.

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

Three vessels including the ETV Herakles remain on scene. A temporary exclusion zone of 300 meters has been implemented around the rig.

The previous version of this article stated that the rig had been under a contract with Marathon Oil. However, since Marathon Oil sold its Norwegian business in 2014 to Det norske oljeselskap, the Norwegian oil company assumed the operatorship of the Transocean Winner.


Offshore Energy Today Staff

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