A semisubmersible drilling rig grounded off Scotland weeks ago could be floated off at high water tonight.
If the operation in Dalmore Bay, on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis, is a success, the Transocean Winner will be towed using two tugs to Broad Bay, on the east coast of the same island.
According to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), it will remain there until it is in a stable and fit condition to be towed or transported to a suitable repair facility.
The rig grounded in Dalmore Bay early on Monday 8 August, after parting from the tug Alp Forward that was towing it from Stavanger to Malta amid high winds. Bad weather initially hampered attempts to board the rig to first assess its condition and then prepare it for a refloat in the first week of salvage operations.
Over the weekend just gone, Transocean removed non-essential diesel oil and any other potential pollutants from the rig.
Some 200-tonne of hydrocarbons, consisting of mainly diesel oil with small amounts of base oil and brine, were transferred to the supply vessel Olympic Orion, with no pollution reported or observed. The MCA was due to send its verification aircraft to overfly the rig and surrounding area.
Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention said: "Good progress is being made in this operation. The plans for the refloat are in place, although this is dependent on the Salvage team being able to recover enough buoyancy to enable the rig to refloat safely."
It is thought the GVA-4000 design rig, built in 1993 and upgraded in 2006, was due to be taken on to Turkey to be scrapped, according to BBC reports.
The Transocean Winner recently came off contract with Marathon Oil in the Norwegian North Sea on a US$498,000 day rate, but had no other work lined up, according to Transocean's latest fleet report.
An exclusion zone of 300m remains in place around the rig covering the sea and the air, which means no drones will be permitted in the area. A 1000m exclusion zone will be around the rig during its transit from Dalmore Bay to Broad Bay.
Image from MCA.