Transocean braces for another rig load attempt off Isle of Lewis
Offshore driller Transocean is bracing for another attempt to load its Transocean Winner rig onto the Hawk semi-sub heavy lift vessel. If unsuccessful, the company will have to hire another heavy lifter as the Hawk’s contract term is expiring next Monday.
The company’s previous attempt to load the rig, that recently went aground in the Isle of Lewis, failed as weather conditions worsened on Friday delaying the loading operation.
In an update on Wednesday, the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that approval has been given by the Secretary of State’s Representative Maritime and Salvage Intervention for Transocean to start preparing for a further attempt to load the rig onto the heavy lift vessel Hawk.
The weather over the next few days looks favorable and Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, says it’s an excellent opportunity to restart the operation.
The agency said that work to disconnect the anchors started this morning and by first light tomorrow, the rig should be in the position to move towards the Hawk. If this current operation is unsuccessful, another heavy lift vessel will have to be brought in, as the Hawk is due to come off contract on Monday, October 10.
The MCA further added that a second HLV has been identified but the work to move the rig would have to be suspended pending its arrival at the Isle of Lewis in mid-late October.
Hugh Shaw said: “Potential weather windows for the operation are beginning to reduce very rapidly now. Although we are considering alternative loading locations, the success of any loading wherever it takes place is diminishing with the approach of winter.”
“With this in mind, I have asked Transocean to look at other contingencies including a plan for maintaining the rig in Broad Bay over the winter if it becomes necessary. We know that the rig can be safely secured there if needed.”
“At the moment though I remain hopeful that this weather window will be sufficient for the operation to take place.”