Highlands & Islands

Council leader says rig could be scrapped on Lewis

Transocean rig Image copyright Craig Allan
Image caption Transocean Winner has been anchored temporarily off Lewis

The leader of Western Isles local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has said the rig Transocean Winner could be scrapped on the islands.

The drilling rig was destined for a yard in Turkey to be decommissioned when a towline broke and it ran aground on Lewis.

It is now temporarily anchored in the island's Broad Bay where divers will inspect the structure for damage.

But councillor Angus Campbell has said it could remain longer term.

He has written to the rig's owner, Transocean, to consider breaking up and recycling parts of the structure at facilities near Stornoway on Lewis.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's representative for maritime salvage and intervention, who is overseeing the salvage operation, has said a decision on the final destination of the rig has still to be made.

'Skilled workers'

In his letter to Transocean, Mr Campbell said: "We are pleased that you continue to engage with the local supply chain and, given the significant and positive economic impact to the islands, would now ask that serious consideration be given to the use of local facilities and engineering expertise in carrying out the necessary repairs.

"As you will be aware, there is an established oil and gas supply chain in the islands with considerable lay down area at the Arnish facility and good connections for skilled workers to move in and out as required.

"Secure additional storage for recyclable parts pending resale could be available at Creed Park on the outskirts of Stornoway.

"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."

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