Following last week’s grounding of the Transocean Winner rig off the Isle of Lewis, a salvage team is starting a full assessment of the damage to the rig.
The rig ran aground last Monday while being towed from Norway to Malta, due to severe weather.
According to a statement by UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on Sunday, a team of eight salvors was making its way on board the drilling rig to carry out a full assessment.
The agency said they intended to work to make it habitable so that they could remain on it overnight. There was also work being done to help provide a supply line for the team so they could get equipment and supplies on board.
Rope access technicians created a safe alternative access after the prevailing weather conditions made it too difficult to winch the team down to the installation, the agency added.
As the fuel tanks on the rig had been breached due to the grounding, the team from Transocean and Smit will look at the diesel oil tanks looking at how they might start procedures to transfer any fuel to other unbreached tanks within the rig so that it will be in a safe location well above the waterline, before any operation to refloat the rig starts, the MCA explained.
There’s also work going on in close proximity to the Transocean Winner to carry out a multi-beam survey looking to identify the safest route to move it when the time comes. The MCA also said that an additional aircraft was going to be brought in later on Sunday to help with the work.
An exclusion zone of 300 meters remains in place around the rig covering the sea and the air, which means no drones will be permitted in the area, providing a safe working area for the salvage team to work in, the MCA said.
Hugh Shaw, who is the Secretary of State’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said: “Once the assessment is under way, we’ll have a much better idea of what we are dealing with, which will mean a more detailed salvage plan can be drawn up and put into place. We’ve made a commitment to keeping people informed locally and we intend to keep to that – once I’m happy that the plan is ready, we will be sharing it with community leaders and the community as a whole.”