Refloated oil rig arrives at temporary location for damage inspection


A 17,000-tonne oil rig that ran aground in the Outer Hebrides and was later refloated has completed its 54-mile journey to a temporary location in Scotland.

Officials said the trip from Dalmore Bay on the western coast of Lewis to Broad Bay on the eastern side of the island took longer than expected but passed off successfully and “without incident”.

The Transocean Winner drilling rig ran aground in bad weather at Dalmore, near Carloway, during a towing operation more than two weeks ago.

Salvage experts refloated the structure at high tide on Monday night, at which point two tug boats started to take it on the lengthy journey around the island.

Hugh Shaw, the British Secretary of State’s representative for maritime salvation and intervention, said: “The tow has taken longer than anticipated.

“We have been clear from the outset that we would not compromise the operation in any way so I am delighted that the 54-mile transit has been successfully completed without incident.”

Eight anchors have been laid out in Broad Bay to hold the rig in place.

Transocean will now be able to assess the damage to the rig and work out how to proceed.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said a verification aircraft has not detected any pollution in Broad Bay or along the route taken by the tugs.

A temporary exclusion zone remains in place at Dalmore, where officials have been working to ensure no debris has been left behind. A 1km exclusion area is also in place around Broad Bay.

The rig grounded at Dalmore with 280 tonnes of diesel on board and two of its four fuel tanks were damaged in the incident.

It resulted in the loss of 53,000 litres of fuel, most of which is thought to have evaporated with no damage to the environment.

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