Following news earlier this week that the recently grounded Transocean Winner rig was waiting on weather to continue sail away preparations, work has begun to move the rig aboard the semi-submersible vessel Hawk.
In an update on Thursday, the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said work had started to lift four of the primary anchors of the Transocean Winner rig in Broad Bay, in anticipation of moving it onto the semi-submersible heavy lift and transportation vessel Hawk.
This initial work could take about 12 hours, MCA said, adding that the four secondary anchors will also be removed, also a 12 hour operation, leaving the rig attached to tugs.
The Hawk will begin to ballast down – which means it will be submerged – ready to receive the rig. A temporary exclusion zone of 1000m will be put in place during the ballasting process on the Hawk until such time the rig is secured.
The rig will then be towed across to the Hawk using guide points before deballasting – allowing the vessel to come up slowly under the Transocean Winner.
It is planned that all this work will take place in daylight on Friday to monitor any potential pollution but could continue on Saturday morning if necessary, MCA said. Pollution counter-measures are in place and an MCA surveillance aircraft will overfly the area during this operation.
Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative For Maritime Salvage and Intervention said: “Our intention all the way along has been to get this operation underway without endangering life or the environment around. All the preparation work has been done in anticipation of this moment so that we could be ready when the time comes as it now has.”