Work began this morning to raise four of the primary anchors of the Transocean Winner rig in Broad Bay, in anticipation of moving it onto the awaiting Hawk ship.

It’s expected this initial work will take about 12 hours. The four secondary anchors will also be removed, also a 12 hour operation, leaving the rig attached to tugs.

The Hawk will begin to ballast down – which means it will be submerged – ready to receive the rig. A temporary exclusion zone of 1000m will be put in place during the ballasting process on the Hawk until such time the rig is secured.

The rig will then be towed across to the Hawk using guide points before deballasting – allowing the vessel to come up slowly under the Transocean Winner.

It’s intended that all this work will take place in daylight tomorrow to monitor any potential pollution but could continue on Saturday morning if necessary. Pollution counter measures are in place and an MCA  surveillance aircraft will overfly the area during this operation.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative For Maritime Salvage and Intervention said, ‘Our intention all the way along has been to get this operation under way without endangering life or the environment around.

‘All the preparation work has been done in anticipation of this moment so that we could be ready when the time comes as it now has.’


The 17,000-tonne semi-submersible, Transocean Winner rig was being towed from Norway to Malta when it became detached from the tug boat Alp Forward in severe storms and washed up on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

The rig, which grounded in Dalmore Bay on 8 August, was successfully refloated some two weeks later and towed 40 miles to safer waters in Broad Bay.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is investigating the grounding.