50 Tonnes of Fuel Spilled from Grounded Rig
The UK government said Thursday that as much as 53 metric tons of diesel fuel were spilled from tanks in the pontoons of the grounded rig Transocean Winner.
No signs of pollution have been observed in the vicinity of the wreck and officials said the fuel had probably evaporated or dissipated. Surveillance overflights showed no oily sheen on the water.
The news updates a release yesterday stating that salvors had found breaches in two of the semisubmersible's tanks.
Government representative Hugh Shaw told the BBC that the fuel release represented an "extremely low risk" to the environment.
"It is estimated that the maximum amount of diesel which could have been lost from those tanks is 53 tonnes and salvors will determine the quantity of diesel remaining in those tanks during the course of the salvage operation," the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a statement. "Diesel is a light and non-persistent oil which presents much lower environmental risks than heavy black crude oil."
The agency said that the rig remains in its original grounded position and that salvors from SMIT and Transocean will continue inspections this week.
The Winner went aground on a headland of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland on Monday morning. The rig was in transit bound for Malta, towed by the anchor handling tug Alp Forward, and the tug lost the tow in severe weather. The Alp Forward was unable to reestablish a connection and high winds blew the Winner aground.
The 1983-built Transocean Winner has a 65-foot transit draft and a transit displacement of 20,000 tons. As of Transocean's latest fleet status report, the rig was scheduled to come off contract with Marathon Oil in July.