Monday 19 March 2018

Massive 17,000-tonne oil rig blown ashore

Undated handout photo of the Transocean Winner oil rig
Undated handout photo of the Transocean Winner oil rig

A 17,000-tonne oil rig ran aground after being blown ashore on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis and Outer Hebides.

The local MP has called for an investigation into why it was being towed in such sever weather conditions.

The Transocean Winner was under tow west of Lewis when it was hit by severe storms on Sunday.

It became detached from the tug boat overnight, before running aground in the Carloway area.

It is stuck on a headland at Dalmore - a small rocky bay which is home to just a few houses.

Stornoway Coastguard said there were no personnel on board the rig and there had been no risk to life.

However there were reports or a small fuel leakage.

The structure was towering over the beach which is popular with surfers because of the waves it generates.

Coastguards and police were at the scene - and blocked the mile long public road to the bay from the public.

Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter also flew over the scene.

"Overnight on Sunday, Stornoway Coastguard was in communication with the tug Alp Forward which encountered severe weather west of the Isle of Lewis, during a towing operation,"said a spokeswoman for the MCA .

"The tug remained connected to the semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Winner overnight but was unable to make headway with the tow.

"The MCA's Emergency Towing Vessel Herakles was deployed from Orkney on Sunday night to assist.

"At 4.20am on Monday, the master of Alp Forward reported that the tow line had parted and due to the severe weather conditions was unable to reconnect the tow line and the rig is at risk of grounding on the west side of the Isle Of Lewis near Carloway. The tug Alp Forward remains on scene to visually monitor the rig.

"There are no personnel on board the rig and there is no risk to life.

"Transocean and ALP Marine have established their emergency response rooms, SMIT salvage has been mobilised to deal with the incident. The MCA's counter pollution branch and Secretary Of State's Representative for Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) are monitoring the situation. Local authority and Marine Scotland have been notified."

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