On Tuesday evening, the 65,000 dwt heavy lift ship Hawk arrived in Broad Bay, Isle of Lewis in preparation for loading the damaged drilling rig Transocean Winner.
The Winner ran aground on August 8 near Carloway, on the other side of the island, after its towline parted in a storm. It spilled 12,000 gallons of diesel, but the fuel quickly dissipated, leaving no signs of pollution.
A team from Smit Salvage and Transocean refloated the rig on August 22, and two tugs towed it around the island to safe harbor.
The loading operation will take about four days of good weather to carry out safely, said Transocean representative David Walls, speaking to the BBC.
The Hawk will carry the Winner to a Turkish demolition yard where the rig will be scrapped. This destination is essentially the same as was planned before the grounding: the Winner had originally been bound for Malta, and from there to a Turkish scrapyard.
Local officials had called for all or part of the scrapping to take place on the Isle of Lewis as a way to boost the local economy, similar to the local dismantling process for the wreck of the Costa Concordia. “We would be very happy to work with Transocean, Smit Salvage and other relevant key stakeholders to ensure that direct and indirect benefits are, as much as possible, retained in the islands,” wrote Councilor Angus Campbell of the Western Isles Council last month.
However, Transocean announced in early September that it would opt for a Turkish shipbreaker instead.
In related news, in a meeting in Stornoway, Duncan MacInnes of the Western Isles Fishermen's Association told local media that the group has reached a settlement with Transocean "to compensate the member vessels that have suffered a loss due to the exclusion zone on fishing activities" in the area of the grounding site.