Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Environment the loser as 53mt of diesel seep from Transocean Winner

Environment the loser as 53mt of diesel seep from Transocean Winner
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says “no pollution [has been] detected” around the grounded Transocean Winner despite confirming as much as 53mt of diesel is likely to have leaked from the wounded semi-submersible drilling rig.

Damage assessment teams from Dutch firm Smit Salvage and rig owner Transocean have discovered two of the rig’s four fuel tanks are leaking as salvage attempts enter a fourth day in testing conditions off Scotland’s Isle of Lewis.

“It is estimated that the maximum amount of diesel which could have been lost from those tanks is 53 tonnes,” MCA said in its latest statement following the grounding of the Transocean Winner in the early hours of Monday (UK time) when the 17,000 ton rig broke free from its tug towline in stormy seas enroute to Malta for scrapping.

The MCA lead its latest update by saying “There is no pollution detected in the area of the rig and the MCA continue to monitor for any pollution” before revealing the spilt diesel.

“As well as continual observations on scene, the MCA counter pollution surveillance aircraft yesterday flew over the location and surrounding area to make careful observations for pollution around the rig and the nearby coast and sea and no sheen or sign of pollution has been found.”

MCA confirmed the rig “remains in the same place” but media outlets have reported it has begun to list as it takes a repeated pounding from heavy swells.

Salvors will continue inspections on board the rig throughout the week and would attempt to ascertain the quantity of diesel remaining in Transocean Winner’s tanks during its on board operations, MCA said. Earlier reports suggest 280mt was on board.

The MCA statement attempted to dampen heightened environment concerns. “Diesel is a light and non-persistent oil which presents much lower environmental risks than heavy black crude oil”.

Additional salvors and technical experts from Transocean as well as new equipment continue to arrive to the incident area to support the operation, MCA say.

A temporary exclusion zone of 300mtrs remains in force. The tug Union Bear is in the vicinity along with the ETV Herakles to support the operation.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s representative for maritime and salvage continues to monitor the operations and is maintaining touch with all the key stakeholders, including Transocean, Smit Salvage, the Scottish Environment Group and Western Isles Council.