What exactly will you do if a 17,000-tonne oil rig crashed somewhere and tonnes of diesel were found leaking out?
This is exactly the problem engineers and officials are facing in the Western Isles as the Transocean Winner was towed from Norway to Malta. The 17,000-tonne oil rig came loose from its tugboat and crashed into the shore of Lewis. While the oil rig had no actual oil inside it, it still contained 300,000 liters of diesel, with more than 52 tonnes of it leaking it. There’s minimal risk to nature as of the moment.
However, if the leaking continues, the local wildlife will be at risk. Luckily, no oil was involved in this incident. That would have made it worse. But what do the people involved in this salvage process plan in recovering the rig?
Source: Oil and Gas People
According to Hugh Shaw, the secretary of state’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention:
“The main option and main objective we’re going for is to refloat the installation, get it towed back out to repair and assess the damage. Already we’ve had heavy seas and the rig would have been lifted high onto the rocks. Determining the weight of the rig and the diesel still on board takes a lot of planning and naval architects are prepared for this but there may be engineering works required too.
The more extreme case is that the rig is unable to float and if we cannot do that then we need a wreck removal crew to dismantle and remove the rig piece by piece from the location. I must stress that is not in our plans at the moment because we are trying the best we can to get it away in one piece.
We have many considerations to take in. If it is safe we have to try and extract the fuel to take some weight off and get the rig floating again – it’s not much but enough to possibly make it come loose. However there may be more difficulties with us being open to the elements and the shallow waters.”
Source: Daily Mail
They have hired four experts from SMIT Salvage who will give the situation an assessment. Four large offshore tugs were also called for assistance for the operation: MV Olympic Orion, MV Union Bear, rig towing vessel Alp Forward and Herakles, a coastguard ship.
Mr. Shaw also stated that the recovery process will take months because of the high winds and higher waves at sea the Western Isles will be expecting to have.