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Weather continues to hamper Transocean Winner salvage efforts

Weather continues to hamper Transocean Winner salvage efforts
Salvors will make another attempt to board the stricken Transocean Winner by sea Sunday after aborted efforts over the past two days.

An attempt to winch the team of eight salvors from Dutch firm Smit Salvage and rig owner Transocean onto the 17,000 ton semi-submersible drilling rig was abandoned on Friday due to unsafe conditions off Scotland’s Isle of Lewis.

The team did manage to partly climb the installation from sea yesterday and will make another attempt Sunday via rope access if conditions allow.

“Weather permitting, they will return tomorrow morning [Sunday UK time] and if it’s safe to do so, find a safe accessible route onto the main deck itself,” the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

“It was hoped the team will be able to carry out a further damage assessment and inspect the emergency generator to establish what power is available.”

However, MCA said additional air assets may yet be flown in at assist the boarding effort if “as originally thought, it does prove too difficult to board from the sea.”

Seatrade Maritime News reported that as much as 53mt of diesel is likely to have leaked from Transocean Winner which ran aground in the early hours of August 8 (UK time) when it broke free from its tug towline in severe gales enroute to Malta for scrapping.

The BBC has since suggested the rig has lost more than 56,000 litres of diesel oil from its four tanks.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said: “There needs to be a comprehensive assessment of the state of the rig before a salvage plan can be drawn up and put it into place.”

An exclusion zone of 300 metres remains in place around the rig.