Grounding of oil rig off Lewis highlights economic folly of ‘long-distance N. Sea decommissioning’

The Transocean Winner aground on the Western Isles. Photo Coastguard Agency
The Transocean Winner aground on the Western Isles. Photo Coastguard Agency

The grounding of the Transocean Winner rig off Lewis has highlighted the dangers of having only one emergency tug operating off the coast of Scotland.

And Alasdair Allan, the local SNP MSP for the Western Isles, also said that this incident also shines a spotlight on the missed opportunities for the Scottish economy in towing redundant North Sea rigs and platforms to be decommissioned thousands of miles from Scotland.

He said: “Remarks made by Sir Alan Massey at the Commons Select Committee < in defending the Government decision to maintain just one emergency rescue tug> were completely misguided and nothing more than a defence of Tory cuts rather than offering a justifiable reason for reducing the number of emergency towing vessels. 

“Cutting back to only one emergency tug patrolling Scotland is a dangerous move – as the vessel could be off the coast of Arran when it is needed in Shetland.

“The Tories must reverse these cuts and bring back a second towing vessel before we see another incident like the grounding of the Transocean rig earlier this year. That incident should be a wake-up call for industry.

“Towing rigs to places such as the Mediterranean for decommissioning is less safe, more harmful to the environment and more inefficient than decommissioning in Scottish ports.

“We must make efforts to decommission these rigs in Scotland – creating jobs and economic growth, whilst allowing the <oil and gas> industry to pay back in to Scottish communities.”

See also:

Grounding of N. Sea oil rig in Western Isles sparks call to halt shipments of Dounreay nuclear waste through the Minches

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