“Rope access technicians” created a safe access after the prevailing weather conditions made it too difficult to winch an initial team of eight down to the 17,000 ton semisubmersible off the coast of Scotland’s Isle of Lewis on Sunday.
Yesterday a further six people joined the on-going salvage operation which is now into its ninth day after Transocean Winner broke free from its tug towline in stormy seas enroute to Malta for scrapping in the early hours of August 8.
Smit Salvage has confirmed that two of four diesel oil tanks on the rig are intact and plans to transfer the contents, estimated to be 137 metric tonnes, using on board pumping systems to other tanks above the water line were under way.
Transocean workers continue to check and restore equipment and other essential services after the initial boarding party made the rig habitable to remain on board overnight and set up a supply line to get equipment and supplies on board.
An AugustaWestland AW139 helicopter is now based in Stornoway to support the operation. A second aircraft was due to arrive on the Island late yesterday.
“Once the assessment is under way, we’ll have a much better idea of what we are dealing with, which will mean a more detailed salvage plan can be drawn up and put into place,” said Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention.
“We’ve made a commitment to keeping people informed locally and we intend to keep to that. Once I’m happy that the plan is ready, we will be sharing it with community leaders and the community as a whole.”
The Scottish Operational Environment Group continues to support and closely monitor the incident.
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said “there are no reports of pollution”.
An exclusion zone of 300 metres remains in place around the rig covering the sea and air, which means drones are not permitted in the area.