Oil rig runs aground on Isle of Lewis after storms

The 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner oil rig ran aground near the village of Carloway on the Isle of Lewis. Picture: Hemedia
The 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner oil rig ran aground near the village of Carloway on the Isle of Lewis. Picture: Hemedia
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An investigation has been launched after an 17,000-tonne rig ran aground during stormy conditions off the Western Isles.

The Transocean Winner, a semi-subermisble drilling rig, became detached from a tug boat off the west coast of Lewis in the early hours yesterday.

The oil rig has more than 280 metric tonnes of diesel on board. Picture: Hemedia

The oil rig has more than 280 metric tonnes of diesel on board. Picture: Hemedia

The rig, carrying 280 metric tonnes of diesel, grounded on the beach of Dalmore, near the village of Carloway.

Stornoway Coastguard said no one was on board the rig at the time of the incident and there were no injuries after it grounded, but the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is monitoring for any pollution following the incident.

The rig was being towed from Norway to Malta when it became separated from the Alp Forward tug at around 4.20am yesterday.

Severe weather, including high winds, prevented the tug crew from reconnecting the tow line. It landed on Dalmore at approximately 6.50am, according to a spokesman for Transocean. The extent of any damage to the rig is unclear but the company has technical teams working on a plan to recover it.

The salvage firm, Smit, is helping to deal with the ­incident, while Police Scotland and members of the coastguard are also at the scene.

A spokeswoman for the MCA said: “The MCA’s ­counter-pollution branch and the Secretary Of State’s Representative for Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) have both been monitoring the situation since Sunday evening and the local authority, police and Marine Scotland have all been kept informed.

“There is 280 metric tonnes of diesel on board and this ­situation is being monitored.”

A coastguard spokeswoman said: “Overnight on Sunday, Stornoway Coastguard was in communication with the tug Alp Forward which encountered severe weather west of the Isle Of Lewis, Scotland during a towing operation.

“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.”

The Transocean Winner, which can accommodate 108 people, was built in 1983 and upgraded 10 years ago.