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A SALVAGE team is continuing their assessment aboard the oil rig grounded on the Isle of Lewis in a bid to create a detailed recovery plan, writes reporter Ellie Forbes.
The Transocean Winner rig was carrying 280 metric tonnes of diesel when it ran aground at Dalmore last Monday (August 8).
Eight experts managed to board the rig on Sunday after previous attempts had . An additional six people joined the team on Monday and that number looked to increase to 15.
Smit Salvage confirmed that the two diesel oil tanks are intact and plans are now in place to transfer the fuel, a total of 137 metric tonnes, via pumping systems to other tanks above the water.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: ‘We understand that a maximum of 53 metric tonnes has leaked. This has dispersed and there is no evidence of pollution based on the current reports that we have.’
An underwater survey is being carried out to identify the safest way to refloat the rig.
MCA said: ‘An AugustaWestland AW139 helicopter is now based in Stornoway to support the operation.
‘A zone of 300 metres remains in place around the rig covering the sea and air, which means no drones will be permitted in the area, providing a safe working area for the salvage team to work in.
The Western Isles Emergency Planning Co-ordinating group met on Monday to discuss the ongoing issue.
A spokesperson for the group said: ‘As previously indicated, the Transocean Winner oil rig is expected to be at Dalmore for some time.
‘The SOSREP and Transocean are now inviting the local community to a special public information meeting to be held tomorrow (August 18) at 8pm in Carloway Community Centre.’
Calls for a second emergency towing vehicle to be reinstated are growing following an inaugural meeting of MPs and MSPs across the region on Monday (August 15).
MSP Kate Forbes, MPs Drew Hendry and Angus MacNeil, joined others in writing to MP Chris Grayling.
The letter read: ‘The recent incident involving the Transocean Winner oil rig clearly demonstrates how utterly inadequate and unacceptable the current emergency provision north of the Border is.’
Hugh Shaw, the secretary of state’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said: ‘Once the assessment is under way, we’ll have a much better idea of what we are dealing with, so a more detailed salvage plan can be put into place.’