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Fishers to demand compensation over exclusion zone around Transocean rig

Transocean's drilling rig aground
Transocean's drilling rig aground

Fishermen are to seek compensation for loss of earnings due to the exclusion zone around an oil rig grounded on the Western Isles.

The Transocean Winner rig was blown ashore in severe weather conditions on the western side of the Isle of Lewis last week when it detached from its tug en-route from Norway to Malta.

A 300-metre sea and air exclusion zone is in place around the semi-submersible which grounded at Dalmore beach near Carloway.

Duncan MacInnes, of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association, said four boats would normally work in the exclusion zone.

He told BBC Alba: “This week there would be four vessels in the exclusion zone fishing exclusively for lobster and brown crab.

“This is the time of year when lobster are most plentiful in shallower grounds.

“Fishermen in Shetland got compensation when the Braer went down and we would insist on a similar compensation scheme for our members.”

The Braer oil tanker ran aground on Shetland on January 5, 1993, spilling almost 85,000 tonnes of crude oil.

The Transocean Winner was carrying 280 tonnes of diesel when it ran aground and salvage teams have since discovered two of its four fuel tanks have been breached.

The rig is believed to have leaked 50,000 litres of fuel, most of which is thought to have evaporated, as since a “low” level of pollution was detected when it ground on Monday August 8, daily searches have found no trace of pollution.

Teams plan to transfer the remaining 137 metric tonnes of diesel fuel – a light and non-persistent oil with lower environmental risks than heavy black crude oil – in the intact tanks to tanks above the waterline.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said an underwater survey on the rig continued on Tuesday.

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