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Hebrides News


The outcome of an investigation into why an oil rig crashed in the Western Isles is expected to be published later this summer.


The grounding of the Transocean Winner caused a fuel spill and required a major salvage operation to recover the platform from rocks.


The probe is well advanced and has gone out to consultation confirmed the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).


The government agency has now reached the stage when the investigation is largely complete.


A draft copy of the report is being sent to interested parties for comment.


► Video:  Stricken Transocean Winner on Hawk


► Photos of the Transocean Winner oil rig over the Hawk


The 33-year-old structure 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 almost a year ago.


The drilling platform would have sank if it was not for a constant stream of air being pumped into some 27 holed tanks.


Transocean donated a £120,000 windfall as a thank you gift to the Hebridean community which helped during the salvage and recovery operation last August.


The oil rig was later transhipped on the back of a huge heavy lift ship to Turkey and chopped up for scrap.


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


It previously said the tow was experiencing worse weather and sea conditions than predicted by forecasters.


The tug towing the doomed Transocean Winner could have sought shelter when the weather unexpectedly worsened, its owners told a parliamentary inquiry in November.


Transocean conceded it could have had better “controls in place” which may have prevented the rig from grounding.


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 when the firm’s representatives gave evidence to the UK Parliament’s transport committee which launched its own probe into the incident.


The company said 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 the Met Office forecast changed to predict bad weather when the rig rounded the north west of Scotland.


Oil rig grounding report due soon

12 July 2017