The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have announced that two of the oil tanks have been breached in the grounded Transocean Winner oil rig grounded off Isle of Lewis. They stated that it is ‘unclear at this time how much oil from those tanks has been released to the environment.’

Reacting to this news Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,

“Leaking diesel oil could create a serious problem for wildlife in such a sensitive area, which is often home to whales, dolphins and important seabirds. The local community is dependent on tourism and fishing, both of which would be badly impacted by a serious spill. Just seven miles west from the grounding site is the EU-protected Loch Roag coastal lagoons, which form a rare and valuable habitat of marine grasses, seaweeds and sponges.

“If the diesel oil leaks into the environment, the clamour for answers as to why such a risky trip was attempted will grow much louder. Why was the rig taking this dangerous route off the mainland in such a storm? How do we make sure that companies don’t repeat these mistakes?

“Lessons from this incident will need to be learnt, and quickly, with further decommissioning of North Sea rigs expected and climate change expected to create more powerful storms and difficult seas. The rapid reinstatement of the Emergency Towing Vessel that was based at Stornoway could go some way to alleviating the concerns of communities in this area. “


Notes to Editors

Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Statement, 10th August 2016 http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk

The Transocean Winner drilling rig was blown ashore on the western side of the Isle of Lewis early on Monday 8th August after it detached from its tug during towing in a storm. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-37007656

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.