Salvors are pressing ahead with refloating preparations for the stricken Transocean rig, while another member is expected to join their operation later today.
There is currently a team of 14 aboard the drilling rig, which ran aground at Dalmore on the Isle of Lewis following a storm last Monday.
They are still carrying out an underwater survey to establish the extent of the damage done to the rig – and to come up with a refloating route – a spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said today.
The team is also working to make connections for towlines that will be used to free the semi-submersible platform, the spokeswoman said.
Any attempt to refloat Transocean Winner, which has reportedly leaked about 56,000 litres of diesel oil, is still thought to be weeks away, however.
A 984ft exclusion zone covering the sea and sky around the rig is in effect, which means no unauthorised aircraft or drones are permitted in the area, although other aircraft have been brought in to assist the salvage operation.
Hugh Shaw, the secretary of state’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said today: “The exclusion zone has been put in place for the safety of the operational aircraft working at the scene and also for the teams carrying out their surveys and assessments. Our priority there is to make sure the operation is not compromised.”
According to a recent media report, local fishers are considering seeking compensation because boats which normally work in the area have been barred by the exclusion zone.