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Hebrides News


This week marks one year since an oil rig crashed in the Western Isles, causing pollution and sparking a major salvage operation.


The Transocean Winner was seriously damaged after breaking its towline from a tug in a storm and crashing into the shore at Dalmore on the west coast of Lewis in August 2016.


Despite a rising wind and detoriating sea state - worse than forecast -  the MV Alp Forward tug continued towing the rig round the north of Scotland.


Opportunities to seek shelter were available but the tow headed down the exposed west coast of Lewis.


The tug lost control of the tow in heaving seas. The line broke and the 33-year-old drilling platform was washed ashore.


Only a constant stream of air pumped into some 27 holed tanks prevent the rig from sinking.


A probe into the incident is largely complete and is expected to published this autumn said government investigators.


Transocean controlled the salvage operation to recover the rig off the shore. It was pulled to Broadbay on the east coast of Lewis and later transhipped on the back of a heavy lift ship to a scrapyard in Turkey.


Transocean has already vowed to “accept and implement” lessons learnt from the grounding of the 17,600 tonne rig.


Previously the global oil services company said the tow was experiencing worse weather and sea conditions than predicted by forecasters.


The various parties involved in the operation to tow the redundant rig from Norway to Malta failed to grasp a window of opportunity to consider a contingency plan when conditions started to deteriorated, it emerged during a probe by the UK Parliament’s transport committee.


Dave Walls, Transocean’s operations director,  told MPs there was a forecast of a “three day window of very benign weather” when the MV Alp Forward set off with the tow from Norway.


But conditions deteriorated as the rig rounded the north west of Scotland and were more severe than forecasts showed.

Transocean Winner oil rig crash anniversary       

8 August 2017