Final preparations are being made to put a small team of salvors on board the semi-submersible oil rig, which grounded in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

The 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner rig was being towed from Norway to Malta when it became detached from its tug boat and grounded on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis near Carloway, overnight on Sunday.

The group of salvors will be conducting an initial assessment of the rig this afternoon as part of the ongoing operation to remove it.

Hugh Shaw, who as Secretary of State’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention is overseeing the operation, said: ‘This initial recce will be checking a number of things including fuel tanks.

‘Weather permitting, it’s then intended to put a second larger group of salvors on tomorrow to carry out a more detailed inspection.’

Three vessels including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) emergency towing vessel Herakles remain on scene. A temporary exclusion zone of 300 metres has been implemented around the rig.

The UK Coastguard has also issued a warning for people not to attempt to visit the scene.

Mark Rodaway UK Coastguard commander said, ‘We understand that this incident is of interest to people living in the area, but we’re really asking them to stay away to ensure easy access for emergency services and salvors.

‘Also the last thing we want is for people to be injured or worse trying to get a closer look on remote cliff paths.’

The MCA counter pollution branch and the Secretary of State’s representative have both been monitoring the situation since the rig ran aground, 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 but it’s believed the pollution risk is low.