A drilling rig has run aground on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland after being hit by severe storms in the early hours of this morning.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) have commenced an investigation into the grounding of a semi-submersible, Transocean Winner, on the west coast of Lewis near Carloway.

The 17,000-tonne rig was being towed from Norway to Malta when it became detached from the tug boat Alp Forward.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: ‘Following the grounding of the semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Winner on the Isle of Lewis, the Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) for Maritime Salvage and Intervention Hugh Shaw is now in discussions with the owners Transocean and the salvors.

‘The Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s counter pollution branch and the SOSREP have both been monitoring the situation since yesterday evening and the local authority, police and Marine Scotland have all been kept informed.

‘There is 280mt of diesel on board and this situation is being monitored.

‘The drilling rig has now grounded on the west side of the Isle of Lewis near Carloway. SMIT Salvage has been mobilised to deal with the incident.

‘Police Scotland and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams are also on scene.’

Last night, Stornoway Coastguard was in communication with the tug Alp Forward which encountered severe weather west of the Isle Of Lewis, Scotland during a towing operation.

The tug remained connected to the semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Winner overnight but was unable to make headway with the tow. The MCA’s emergency towing vessel Herakles was deployed from Orkney to assist.

At 4.20am this morning, the master of Alp Forward reported that the tow line had parted and due to the severe weather conditions was unable to reconnect the tow line and the rig was at risk of grounding. Alp Forward remained on scene to visually monitor the rig.

The MCA spokesman added: ‘There are no personnel on board the rig and there is no risk to life.’

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