Attempts to free the Transocean Winning oilrig from the Western Isles has done no environmental harm to date. The rig had approximately 300,000 liters of diesel aboard (280 metric tons) when two fuel tanks were damaged, igniting fear of marine pollution due to a loss of 53,000 liters of diesel. An investigation has been launched as a result of the incident.
Most of what was lost is believed to have vanished with no environmental harm, while the remaining fuel continues to be removed. The rig remains on the west side of the Island.
A spokeswoman for Maritime and Coastguard Agency comments: “Transocean has confirmed they started the operation yesterday to remove some of the diesel oil in the pontoon. This will continue today. A verification flight by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s counter-pollution team has been carried out following that work and there is no evidence of pollution in the area.”
Operations director, Dave Walls, thanked everyone for their help, saying: “The other thing I would like to do is to apologize for the disruption to your daily lives. We need to get ourselves in the position where we’re ready to float and we’re not there yet. Once we’re ready to float we then need the ideal conditions to float – and that’s a suitable weather window, no wind, the right tide. Everything needs to be just right because we get one opportunity to do it right.”
Officials updated residents on the status in a publicly held meeting on Thursday, where they heard progression is being made but remains unclear as to when refloating will take place. They cannot yet give a time as to when the rig will be removed from the beach, but Walls vowed no trace would be left behind. He adds the accomplishments of the 15 who are working to get the rig up and running, with several internal areas already working.
By Marcela Arbarca.