UK investigates rig towing accident
ALP was involved in the towage of Transocean Winnner, which grounded off Scotland in August
Tug operator ALP Maritime Services and rig owner Transocean will be questioned by the UK government about the grounding of a rig in Scotland. Members of parliament on the Transport Select Committee will ask why semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Winner grounded on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland during a tow to Malta in August 2016. The committee, meeting today (21 November), will be considering whether there is enough emergency towage capacity in Scotland.
It will also set questions about the salvage of Transocean Winner, which was hampered by poor weather, and how well the risks of environmental damage were managed. ALP fleet and operations chief operating officer Leo Leusink and Transocean operations director Dave Walls will be questioned by the committee. Other witnesses to be questioned by the Transport Select Committee include Aqualis Offshore chief executive David Wells, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency chief executive Sir Alan Massey and the secretary of state’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, Hugh Shaw.
MPs will consider any implications of the grounding and salvage for the Department for Transport and Maritime and Coastguard Agency policy and will consider the provision of emergency towing vessels (ETVs) in Scottish waters. This will include the extent to which ETVs are necessary and whether they should be provided by the public or private sector. There were two ETVs stationed in Scotland until 2010, but only one remains, stationed in Orkney, so the west coast has remained without one for six years.
Separately, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch is gathering evidence for its investigation into the grounding of Transocean Winner. Its report on the incident is not expected to be published until the third quarter of 2017. The committee meets as emergency towing services were put into action to rescue a stricken cargo ship off the English south east coast over the weekend.
1996-built Saga Sky struck a rock barge in Storm Angus over the weekend near Dover. This damaged the hull and the ship drifted on to the Varne Bank.
Two helicopters evacuated 11 of the 23 crew, and French tug Abeile Languedoc towed the ship to safe anchorage off Dungeness. There were no casualties and no pollution from the incident. Also during stormy conditions, two tugs were sent out to assist two ships that lost anchor in the North Sea off the Netherlands.
Container ship Berwick and cargo ship Victoria were in trouble near the anchorage area West Schouwenbank, off the coast of Schouwen-Duiveland, according to Vesseltracker. Berwick regained power and safely moored while Victoria was successfully anchored at Steenbank.
- ^ emergency towing vessels (www.tugtechnologyandbusiness.com)
- ^ investigation into the grounding (www.tugtechnologyandbusiness.com)